Can you help improve our information on stroke-related eye conditions?
We would like your views on our information about stroke-related eye conditions. Your views will help us make our information as useful as possible for other people diagnosed with eye conditions related to stroke. We’re looking for people:
- who live in the UK, and
- who have sight loss or eye conditions as a result of a stroke, or who are caring for someone who does.
We would like to hear from you if you are willing to answer a few questions (either over the phone or by email) about what information would have been most helpful to you when you were diagnosed. In addition, we’d like to hear your suggestions on how our current information could be improved.
To find out more please contact the RNIB Eye Health Information team on 020 7391 3299 or by email [email protected].
– How can a stroke affect vision?
– Field loss: hemianopia
– Eye movement problems
– Vision processing
– Is there any treatment?
How can a stroke affect vision?
Stroke can affect the visual pathways of your eye and this can affect your vision in different ways including:
When stroke affects the areas of your brain that process information you see, it can cause problems such as:
- visual neglect
- judging depth and movement
- recognising objects and people
- visual hallucinations.
You can get a more in-depth look at the eye conditions related to stroke in our downloadable factsheet.
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Field loss: hemianopia
Hemianopia is where there is a loss of one half of your visual field. This may mean that you’re not able to see to either the left or right from the centre of your field of vision in both eyes. If you have a stroke to one side of your brain, you may develop field loss to the opposite side. The extent of field loss can vary and depends on the area of your brain that has been affected by the stroke.
For more information about what it's like to have hemianopia, watch our film which features Tim, who has the the condition, and Professor Leff, a neuro-ophthalmologist.
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Eye movement problems
A stroke can lead to problems with eye movements resulting in both eyes not working together as a pair. This can make it difficult to focus on specific things because of blurred vision as well as diplopia (double vision).
People may also experience problems with their fast (saccades) or slow (pursuit) eye movements which make it very difficult for the person to focus visually. In addition, their eyes may wobble (a condition known as nystagmus) or they may not be able to move both eyes together in a particular direction (gaze palsy).
This is when you may be able to see an object clearly but the images are not processed by your brain correctly. It can lead to people ignoring objects that are there or being unable to interpret text when reading.
Is there any treatment?
There are different techniques that can be used to try to help deal with the visual effects of stroke. These will depend on how the stroke has affected your vision but can include glasses, prisms, patching, magnifiers and scanning information. There’s also computer-based rehab programs which may help improve your ability to scan if you have field loss.
Some people may see some improvement in their vision up to six months following a stroke. Again, this is highly dependent on where the damage in your brain has happened as well as the type of stroke suffered and other existing health problems. Unfortunately for many people, especially those with loss of visual field, sight loss may be permanent.
Part of the rehabilitation program for someone who has had a stroke should include an assessment of their vision and eyes. Orthoptists and low vision specialists can assess and work with you on visual training with or without optical aids. The stroke team, GP or ophthalmologist can refer you for an orthoptic assessment and/or to the low vision clinic.
Further information on these various treatments can be found in our stroke-related eye conditions download guide.
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It’s completely natural to be upset when you’ve been diagnosed with vision loss. Often there can be a lot of life changes in a short space of time. You may find that you are worried about the future and how you will manage with a change in your vision. We’re here to support you every step of the way, and to answer any questions you may have – just get in touch with our Sight Loss Advice Service.
Help to see things better
If you do have some sight loss, there are lots of things that you can do to make the most of your remaining vision. This may mean making things bigger, using brighter lighting or using colour to make things easier to see.
Find out more about how to make the most of your sight by downloading our guide:
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