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Retinal Transient Ischemic Attacks: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diagnosis

Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack

Most people do not know that stroke not only happens in the brain but can also take place in the eyes. This is called retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA) due to which the patient can lose his vision temporarily. Let us understand this in detail.

Previously, the definition of retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA) was time-based and when the temporary vision loss lasted less than 24 hours it was called as retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA). However, this definition has now changed and it is entirely based on tissues. If there is an absence of ischemia on funduscopic examination then it is considered as retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack

Studies have suggested that retinal infarction and transient blindness in one eye are associated with greater risk of stroke in future.1 Hence it is important to understand about transient ischemic attack as, if this stage is not treated properly, it can lead to further complications.

Symptoms of Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

The following are some symptoms of retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA):

  • Temporary loss of vision on one or both eyes
  • Weakness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden or severe headache without any particular reason.

Causes of Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA) is mainly caused when there is a reduction of blood flow in the eye for a while because of a blood clot or blockage in the blood vessel. It is the blood vessel that is responsible for carrying the essential nutrient and oxygen to all parts of the body. Just like other parts, the blood vessel also carries blood to the eyes for its proper functioning. Now, if the blood vessel becomes narrow or gets blocked as a result of blood clot then the blood supply is cut off from the eye. As such the light signal cannot reach the brain and this can cause blindness for a few minutes of time till the blood flow returns again. Generally, it is seen that the blood flow returns after a few minutes or so. In case the blood flow does not return within 24 hours then it will cause permanent damage to the eye or it may lead to eye stroke.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

It is necessary to diagnosis retinal transient ischemic attack immediately if you ever experience blindness even for a few seconds. The doctors may ask to do the following test to diagnose whether you have retinal transient ischemic attack or not:

As retinal transient ischemic attack is mainly caused due to the blockage or blood clot. The main treatment for this condition is the use of a blood thinner so that the blood can flow to the eye easily through the blood vessel. Apart from that, doctors usually prescribe antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, thrombolytic agents. Moreover, doctors also try to manage chronic diseases of the patient such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, etc. Sometimes it is seen that surgery and angioplasty are required for treating the condition of retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA). Following medical advice is essential to diagnose and treat the condition in time and prevent complications.


Retinal transient ischemic attack is actually a warning sign of a possible stroke. So, even if you experience the symptoms of retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA) for a few seconds it is highly necessary to check up with a doctor immediately as it is a warning for an impending stroke. So, if you can diagnose and treat the problem of retinal transient ischemic attack (TIA) immediately you can greatly reduce the risk of subsequent stroke.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077464/
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 24, 2022

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