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Brief loss of vision in one eye

Midwestern farmer Raymond Duffy, 60, was reading the paper one evening when his vision began to blur. Testing each eye, he discovered that his right eye saw clearly, but there was a fuzzy grey cloud in front of the left one.

       Within minutes the fuzziness cleared. When he had a few more spells over the next two weeks, he decided to get a checkup. University of Iowa College of Medicine neurologist Harold P. Adams, Jr., determined that Duffy was having little stroke spells to the eye. Further testing revealed severe narrowing and blockage of the left carotid artery, the vessel that supplies blood to the left eye and parts of the left brain.

       Medications can sometimes help, but in Duffy's case surgery was necessary. Doctors cleaned out the blockage in his carotid artery, and now he can read without difficulty. Had he ignored his brief vision loss, he could have had a major stroke to the eye, and permanently lost vision in it.

       Transient vision loss in one eye can also signal eye diseases such as glaucoma, or a life-threatening stroke to the brain.

       IF YOU have any of these symptoms, see a doctor. In each case, early detection will boost your chances of recovery. And if your doctor finds the symptom harmless, you'll gain peace of mind.

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