Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), its symptoms, causes and treatment


Most people do not know that stroke only happens in the brain but can also take place in the eyes. This is what is called retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) due to which the patient lost his vision temporarily. Previously, the definition 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). But this definition has now changed and it entirely based on tissues. If there is an absence of ischemia on funduscopic examination then it is considered as retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). 

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

Cause of retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) are retina problems which is mainly caused when there is a reduction of blood flow in the eye for a while because of the 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 of the patient and this cause blindness for a few periods of time till the blood flow returns again. Generally, it is seen that the blood flow return after a few minutes or so. But 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 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 (TIA) or not:

    • CT scan
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
    • Ultrasound
    • Electrocardiogram
    • Eye examination


  • Carotid ultrasonography


  • Computerized tomography (CT) scanning
  • Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) scanning
  • Physical examination and blood tests that includes tests for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, etc.  

As Retinal Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is mainly caused due to the blockage or blood clot the main treatment involved in this disease is to make the 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).