Some Causes of Temporary Blindness

Updated April 17, 2017

The causes for temporary blindness are numerous and can be affected by a variety of different elements. Various disorders within the body are the most common causes of fleeting blindness. However, psychological elements can also play a role. Various chemicals and ingestible materials can also cause blindness in a person. This loss of vision is generally easily rectified by intervention by a trained physician or immediate first aid.

Optic Nerve Interruption

One of the leading causes of temporary blindness in individuals is a build up of fluids within the cranial cavity. This fluid presses against the membranes in the head and can impact the proper functioning of the nerve ending and the optic cavity itself.

Cardiac Issues

According to the American Heart Association, a variety of cardiac problems can lead to temporary blindness as well. Aortic dissection, in which the blood flows into the aorta's wall, and changes in blood viscosity levels are the most common factors in this issue.


If a person contracts herpes zoster, the immune system can be attacked in a disorder known as shingles. This is associated with a reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox and will result in fleeting blindness.


Psychological effects of an extremely emotional or stressful situation can result in temporary blindness as well. This concept is known as conversion and it relates to the fact that person's brain will alter the psychological impact into a physical abnormality such as blindness.

Chemical Burns

Cleaning products and other chemicals are one of the principle causes of temporary blindness throughout the United States, according to the Committee on Chemical Safety. Some of these are intentional, as is the case of pepper spray or mace.

Dangerous Plants

There are a variety of poisonous plants throughout the world that also cause temporary blindness. Flowers called spurges from the euphorbiaceae family of flowers as well as a plant known as daphne both impact a person's vision when ingested.

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About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.