How does a stroke affect one’s vision?

Up to 66% of people experience visual problems following a stroke.

How does a stroke affect one’s vision? in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

More than 50% of the brain’s cortex is involved in processing visual information.

Needless to say, if there has been damage to the brain, such as a stroke, there’s a high chance that your vision will be impacted. Vision is much more than just how clearly you can read from the eye chart. It involves so many complex skills connected to how the brain communicates with the eyes and perceives what we see. It depends where the stroke occurred in the brain and the extent of the impact it had on the brain tissue, but a stroke can cause various vision related issues including difficulty with reading, depth perception, balance, and visual memory, just to name a few. 

The main areas in the brain related to vision are the:

  • Brain stem - controls eye movements, the way you recognize and understand what you see and it’s related to balance and stability and
  • Occipital lobe - this is the main vision center of the brain and most visual processing occurs here 

What kind of visual damage can occur after a stroke?

There are many ways that a stroke can affect your vision. Some common visual implications are explained below.

Visual Field Loss

The visual field is the entire area you can see in all directions when your eyes are fixed in one position. When a stroke occurs, around 20% of people suffer from permanent visual field loss. There are different parts of the visual field that can be damaged due to a stroke:

  • Hemianopsia - a person can lose half of their visual field; it could be on the right side or the left side of the visual field
  • Quadrantanopia - a person loses a top or bottom quarter of the visual field
  • Scotoma - a blind spot in one or both eyes

Eye Movement Disorders

There are various ways that a stroke can affect the nerves and muscles that control your eye movements. Some examples include:

  • Nystagmus - a condition when the eyes move in a constant vibrating type of motion
  • Oculomotor dysfunction - difficulty controlling eye tracking movements
  • Strabismus - the eye turns inwards, outwards, or any other direction and is misaligned with the other eye
  • Diplopia - double vision

Dry Eyes

Some people who have suffered a stroke have a hard time blinking or fully closing their eyes which can affect the moistness of their eyes and can lead to dry eyes. This can cause a burning sensation, irritation, and/ or blurry vision.

What kind of visual damage can occur after a stroke?

Brain Plasticity

After a stroke, you have to go through various rehabilitative treatments as part of the recovery process. It is so important to make sure to include vision as one of your systems that can use rehabilitation and strengthening, just as you would for speech rehabilitation or any other skill or system that requires attention after a stroke.

You might not know if you have experienced damage to your vision after a stroke so it is essential to have your vision evaluated by an optometrist. After the eye exam, if there has been harm to your vision, the optometrist can recommend various treatment plans. There is no reason to let your vision stay compromised when thankfully there are great rehabilitative treatment options as visual skills can be trained and strengthened. The brain has an incredible feature known as plasticity which means it can adapt to new challenges and be trained to accomplish various feats.

How We Can Help Your Vision After Surviving a Stroke

Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation

There is a field within optometry which has been proven to greatly improve a stroke survivor’s visual system. Neuro optometric rehabilitation can allow you to reclaim your independence and even regain visual abilities after suffering from damage to your vision due to a stroke.
Neuro optometric rehabilitation is vision care that goes beyond the simple correction of eyesight via contact lenses and eyeglasses. In particular, it focuses on the neurological side of the larger visual system, which includes not only the eyes, but the brain as well. As such, neuro optometric rehabilitation therapy centers around improving the brain-eye connection to treat a wide range of vision problems.
Our optometrist utilizes a wide variety of exercises and visual learning games, along with devices such as specialized lenses, to help you attain, improve, or regain the important visual skills which will help resolve your visual issues.

Low Vision

Low vision is the result of partial but irreversible visual impairment. A diagnosis does not mean that you are blind. It just means that you have problems that cannot be corrected with conventional interventions, and that you may require vision devices and training to enhance your remaining eyesight. In most instances, a person retains some degree of vision that usually responds well to specialty glasses or other vision aid. The field of low vision is dedicated to helping patients reclaim their independence and improve their quality of life, despite any visual impairment.

What kind of visual damage can occur after a stroke?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Amplify EyeCare

Optometry practices within the Amplify EyeCare brand represent the cutting edge of medical & specialty eyecare. Our eye doctors, who have offices all over the United States, are some of the leading specialists in their field, including:

  • Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation
  • Developmental & Pediatric Optometry
  • Low Vision
  • Specialty Contact Lenses & Myopia Management
  • Ocular Disease
  • Dry Eye

 

Resources:

American Stroke Association
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA)

Related Articles

Testimonials


  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


    June S.

  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


    Christine R.

  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

Blog

kevin-lehtla-X1PDHkKuvwc-unsplash

Sunglasses and UV protection for your eyes

According to a new nationwide survey released, three-quarters of Americans worry about potential eye problems caused by the sun's ultraviolet […]

Read More
jack-b-oWUeGozstgs-unsplash

Scratched eye

The purpose of this article is to explain how to deal with corneal abrasions. If you scratched your eye you […]

Read More
Atkinson Hyperlegible Font (1)

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font

Named after Braille Institute founder, J. Robert Atkinson, Atkinson Hyperlegible font is great for low vision readers.  In contrast to […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours

Monday-Thursday
8:30AM-5:00PM

Friday
8:30AM-3:00PM

Saturday-Sunday
Closed

Location
400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
Fax
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
appointment
Call Us
Referrals
Assessments
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram