Eye Care Following a Stroke

The United States Center for Disease Control estimates that a person in America has a stroke every 40 seconds. Doctors diagnose about 800,000 strokes each year while minor strokes often go undiagnosed. In about 528,000 of those cases, people experience a vision loss. This loss can take on many different forms.

Vision Field Loss

Many people realize that they no longer have a normal field of vision following their strokes. The most common type of visual field loss involves a loss of sight in both eyes on the same side of the body that the brain affected. Alternatively, the stroke may mean that they no longer see what is happening in their peripheral vision. In almost all cases, the eyes still work the way that they did before the stroke, but the brain no longer receives the messages sent by the eyes. While the ability to see returns in a few patients, in many the vision loss is permanent. Therefore, doctors work with patients to teach them visual scanning techniques. Patients learn to compensate for the loss of vision by using systematic scanning techniques.

Visual Hallucinations

Stroke victims who have never had any diagnosed mental health issues sometimes see things in the blind part of their eyes that are not there. Doctors believe that it happens more often when the mid-part of the brain is affected by the stroke. Additionally, patients who have occipital lesions and sleep disturbances are more likely to experience visual hallucinations. Patients can often take particular medications to help the hallucinations go away along with learning self-help strategies.

Retinal Vessel Occlusion

Retinal vessel occlusion happens when damage is done to blood vessels in the retina during the stroke. A patient may lose their sight and have it return several times during the stroke episode if this type of damage is occurring. Other patients have a blockage in the vessels designed to move blood away from the retina. This type of blockage can cause eyesight to continue to dim for several days following the stroke. One of the best things that a person can do, if they notice changes in their vision, is to get to a hospital fast.  Doctors can sometimes stop damage if treatment begins within four hours. Remember that strokes are called silent killers, so you do not even have to feel bad to be having a stroke.

If you have had a stroke, then it is vital that you see an optometrist in Orlando. They can help you learn new skills to cope with your vision loss. They may also be able to work with your primary care doctor to get you on the right medicines. While damage from a stroke is often not reversible, working with an optometrist maximizes your ability to use any vision that you have left.

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