Scotoma, unilateral:


A scotoma is a break or interruption in the visual field. The plural of the word is not scotomas, as one might think, but is scotoma. A scotoma can occur in one eye or both, in the center or at the outer edges of the visual field, and can occur alone or there can be several. It can be temporary, but in the majority of cases, it's permanent. There are many possible causes of scotoma, and it can be a very debilitating and life-altering disorder.


Many disorders can cause scotomas. Temporary scotomas are usually caused by brain disorders such as a seizure, migraine, or reduced blood flow.

Fixed, permanent blind spots can be caused by disorders of:

  • The optic nerve, such as those caused by glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eye) or multiple sclerosis
  • The brain, such as a tumor or stroke
  • The retina, such as a scar or an injury

A blind spot that is growing is often the sign of a retinal detachment. The layers of the retina are separating, and this can cause loss of vision. You will need prompt surgery to prevent blindness in the eye. 

Total color blindness is present from birth and is associated with a central scotoma. All colors appear to be grays of different brightness, and central vision is reduced. Macular degeneration, diabetes, and eye injuries can also cause central scotomas. 


Scotoma symptoms depend on the causative factors, but a few common symptoms include:

  • Trouble seeing specific details and colors
  • Temporary or permanent vision loss
  • A single or multiple blind spots
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Floaters or dots


Aura in vision can be detected through various methods. These include visual field tests and dilated eye exams.

Visual Field Tests

Also known as a Humphrey visual field test, this procedure involves staring into a bowl-shaped instrument. An eye care specialist performs the procedure and later examines a detailed visual field map of your eyes produced by the machine.

Dilated Eye Exams

Part of the automated visual field test may include dilating your pupils with eye drops. The eye specialist then examines the eye, specifically the optic nerve and retina. This examination can also help determine the type of scotoma.

Alternatively, evaluate based on visual impairment due to scotoma, if that would result in a higher evaluation.

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