What happens to vision after a stroke?
Vision is a function of what your eye sees and your brain processes. In order to see properly, you need a properly functioning brain. The nerves in the eyes travel to the back of the brain. About 1/3 of stroke victims experience vision loss. When most strokes occur, half of the brain is affected. This, in turn, causes low vision know as Homonymous Hemianopia where one can only see half of the items in front of them. If there is a stroke on the right side of the brain, vision loss will occur on the left side. When there is a stroke on the left side of the brain, vision loss will occur on the right side. In both cases, vision loss is effected on both eyes. In rare cases, the stroke will affect both sides and there will be total vision loss.
What are the types of vision loss?
As noted, the most common vision loss from a stroke is Homonymous Hemianopia, commonly know as side vision loss. This is where you will only be able to see half a person or item. Quadrantanopia is the loss of the upper or lower quarter of vision. There will also be issues of eye movement, unsteady movement, dry eyes, and visual neglect where your brain cannot process the images it is looking at.
Are there any solutions to manage vision loss from a stroke?
Being unable to see half the items in front of you can obviously be extremely difficult. There is always going to be a concern of walking and tripping, banging into people or items, and a loss of independence.
For our Southern Illinois patients, we like to recommend Side Vision Awareness Glasses or SVAG. This lens was specifically designed to help those suffering from hemianopsia. Their goal is to develop field expansion. In simple terms, bring the loss of peripheral vison to the center where vision is not affected. They reduce distracting color aberrations seen through other lenses. Ascetically, the lens is thin enough that it blends into the glasses. To learn more, visit sidevisionawarenessglasses.com.
Having a stroke can be a life-altering event where vision loss is one of the many things that are affected, especially the peripheral vision. There can be a sense of despair but there is hope. Through items such a SVAG or other telescope lenses, you can begin to regain some of the lost vision and start to function normally again. Call us to discuss the many options available to you at 802-347-3894.