A stroke (also referred to as a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA) occurs when there is an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying nutrients to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Brain cells can no longer function if these drastic changes in blood flow occur. Strokes can be life-threatening, so immediate medical care is required if you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from a stroke. The following information are for individuals who are seeking solutions to their vision issues following stroke and all immediate medical care has been provided.
Although stroke is a disorder of the brain, it can affect the entire body since our brain is the control center of our body. Individuals may experience reduced coordination and movement, language and speech skills, and visual deficits.
Two-thirds of stroke survivors have visual impairment, including visual field loss. Our visual field is everything that we can see which includes both our central vision (where we are directly looking) and our peripheral vision (all of our side vision outside of our central vision). Visual field loss means that part of the visual field is obstructed, making it difficult to see everything in the visual environment.
How much visual field is lost and where the field loss depends on where the stroke occurred in the brain. Visual field loss may occur as a homonymous hemianopia, or loss of half of the peripheral vision on the same side in each eye.
Symptoms of visual field loss include:
- Poor peripheral awareness
- Clumsiness and bumping into things
- Struggling with motor tasks requiring more peripheral vision
- Loss of place while reading, not seeing where the line ends or a new line begins
If you or a loved one experience any of the above symptoms, a Neuro-Vision Evaluation conducted by a Neuro Optometrist is the only means of getting a clear and accurate diagnosis. If you’re interested in better understanding the seriousness and severity of the symptoms you or a loved one are experiencing, we encourage you to take our Vision Symptom Quiz.
Rowe, FJ. Stroke survivors’ views and experiences on impact of visual impairment. Brain and Behavior, 2017; e00778 DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/brb3.778
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Stroke and Vision. Link: https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/about-brain-injuries-vision/stroke-and-vision
Hepworth L, Rowe FJ. Visual impairment following stroke – the impact on quality of life: a systematic review. Ophthalmology Research An International Journal 2016;5(2), 1–15.