According to the Stroke Association, approximately 66% of individuals suffer from vision issues following a stroke. Unfortunately, not all of them will be able to get back their normal vision. But recovery is possible, given the right training, proper mobility aids and devices such as electronic glasses for the visually impaired.
These also include strategic home modifications to help ensure that you can live safely and independently for as long as possible.
How a Stroke Can Affect Vision
In most cases, strokes only impact one side, either the right or left side of the brain. However, since all the nerves in your eyes travel together, both of your eyes might be affected. Rarely does a stroke affect two sides of the brain, but if it does, blindness is possible.
Other vision issues that can occur following a stroke include:
- Difficulty controlling eye movement – If a nerve in your eye used for controlling individual muscles gets damaged, it may stop functioning and cause diplopia or double vision or strabismus, eye turning. This can likewise cause ptosis or drooping eyelids, or a pupil to increase in size.
- Visual field loss – The visual field is basically the area you readily see upon fixing your eyes in a specific position. Hemianopia occurs when you lose half of your visual field. You may notice this while reading when the sentences and words disappear in your compromised visual field or when you only see half the face of people. Quandrantanopia, on the other hand, is loss of the lower or upper section of your visual field.
- Dry eyes – This occurs when the eyelid nerves get damaged.
- Agnosia and visual neglect – This with agnosia, it will be difficult for you to recognise familiar objects and faces, while individuals with visual neglect don’t respond to and aren’t aware of things on the side that has been affected by stroke. These vision issues are not really associated with the vision itself but are due to damage to areas of the brain used for interpreting and perceiving vision.
- Nystagmus – This is characterised by unsteady and constant eye movements that can be jittery down or up or side-to-side, sometimes even circular. In some people, their eyes might likewise flicker when attempting to look at an object steadily.
Managing Vision Problems
Although plenty of people who suddenly experience vision loss might not be able to regain their vision, recovery to some degree is still possible during the first couple of months following a stroke. Contact lenses and eyeglasses might not help with vision loss; electronic glasses for visually impaired might.
Therapy may also be recommended for addressing vision loss, including scanning techniques that will help maximise the use of the remaining vision. Also, prism lenses could be utilised for shifting images to the working visual field from the non-working one.
If you’re experiencing double vision, you can use an eye patch to block on an image or place a prism on your eyeglasses to join images together. Vision problems could negatively impact your independence, safety, and mobility. But the proper treatments, home modifications, equipment and aids can really help.