Reversible monocular cataract simulating Amaurosis fugax

R. P. Paylor, J. B. Selhorst, R. S. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In a patient having brittle, juvenile-onset diabetes, transient monocular visual loss occurred repeatedly whenever there were wide fluctuations in serum glucose. Amaurosis fungax was suspected. The visual loss differed, however, in that it persisted over a period of hours to several days. Direct observation eventually revealed that the relatively sudden change in vision of one eye was associated with opacification of the lens and was not accompanied by an afferent pupillary defect. Presumably, a hyperosmotic gradient had developed with the accumulation of glucose and sorbitol within the lens. Water was drawn inward, altering the composition of the lens fibers and thereby lowering the refractive index, forming a reversible cataract. Hypoglycemia is also hypothesized to have played a role in the formation of a higher osmotic gradient. The unilaterality of the cataract is attributed to variation in the permeability of asymmetric posterior subcapsular cataracts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-425
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of ophthalmology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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