Vision problems after stroke can be tricky to solve – but we’re here to help.
First, you need to know the different types of vision problems so that you can identify which one you have.
Then, you must understand how to treat visual loss after stroke.
Below you will find all the answers to your vision problems.
Types of Vision Problems After Stroke
After stroke, there are four main types of eye problems that can occur: central vision loss, visual field loss, eye movement problems, and visual processing problems.
All of these problems affect your ability to see your full visual field, which is the total area in which objects can be seen in your peripheral (side) and central vision as you focus on an object.
Here are the 5 types of vision problems after stroke:
1. Eye Movement Control
Eye movement control problems impair your ability to control your ocular (eye) muscles. Sometimes this movement is unsteady, causing jittery movements side-to-side or up-and-down.
2. Central Vision Loss
Central vision loss impairs your ability to see the middle of your visual field
3. Visual Field Loss – Hemianopia
Visual field loss impairs your ability to see sections of your visual field. When the affected side is missing, it’s called hemianopia.
4. Visual Field Loss – Quadrantanopia
When only one fourth of the visual field is missing, it’s called quadrantanopia.
5. Visual Neglect
People with visual neglect are not aware of the environment on their affected side. It’s very similar to hemineglect.
Now that you know the 5 types of vision problems after stroke, we will discuss the two root causes of these problems.
Causes of Visual Loss After Stroke
Vision is a two-man act. Your eyesight is controlled by both your eyes and your brain.
Your eyes are responsible for receiving visual information, and your brain is responsible for processing that information.
This means that there are two root causes to vision problems after stroke.
Cause 1: Neuromuscular Impairment (your eyes)
This is the cause of eye movement control.
When stroke damages the nerves that control the muscles in your eyes, then your vision problems are caused by impaired eye movement control.
Specifically, this impairment is known as a neuromuscular impairment. This means that you have trouble controlling the muscles that move your eye, but your brain’s visual processing is fine.
In this case, treatment will revolve around restoring your ocular (eye) muscle coordination. More on that soon.
Cause 2: Visual Processing Impairment (your brain)
This is the cause of visual field loss, central vision loss, and visual neglect.
In other cases, vision problems are caused by damage to the vision center of the brain. This impairs the brain’s ability to process visual information, which leads to vision problems.
Treatment will revolve around restoring your brain’s visual processing abilities.
Now that we have boiled it all down into two root problems, let’s discuss the solutions.
Treatments for Eye Movement Control Problems After Stroke
So, did stroke affect the vision center of your brain? If so, move onto the next section. If it did not, the following treatment may help you.
If you have lost control over the muscles that control your eyes, then neuromuscular treatment can help – which is really just a fancy word for eye exercises.
Eye exercises are one of the best ways to naturally reverse eye movement problems after stroke.
They help retrain the 6 muscles that control your eyes to improve coordination.
Although progress may happens slowly, this can help improve your eyesight after stroke.
Treatments for Visual Processing Impairments After Stroke
Did your neurologist confirm that the vision center of your brain may have been affected by stroke?
If so, it can explain the cause of visual field loss.
Here are 3 types of treatments may help heal the brain and improve eyesight after stroke:
Eye Movement Therapy
During eye movement therapy, you learn how to move your eyes within your visual field to make it easier to scan objects.
This helps you adapt to what you can see without trying to expand your visual field.
During optical therapy, mirrors and prisms are used to manipulate your current visual field so that you can see more. This expands your visual field using tools.
Both optical and eye movement therapy help you adapt to your new visual field without improving your brain’s visual processing ability.
They are compensation techniques that help you safely live with your vision loss.
Visual Restoration Therapy
During visual restoration therapy, lights are used to stimulate the border between “good” and “blind” spots in your field of vision.
This stimulates neuroplasticity and encourages your brain to rewire itself and improve your vision after stroke.
This treatment is the best way to solve the root problem.
How Much Vision Can Be Restored After Stroke?
To help wrap this up, let’s end with a hard hitting question:
How much vision can be restored after stroke?
Statistically speaking, there’s a chance that you may only achieve partial recovery of your vision field. There’s also a chance that you all of your vision can return after stroke.
We’re not big fans of telling you what you cannot do because limiting beliefs may stop you from even trying. And trying is how miracles happen!
So instead, we enjoy encouraging you to explore your potential and see how far you can go.
As always, we’ll be right here every step of the way.