Approximately 800,000 people have strokes in the U.S. each year. A stroke is caused when there is a disruption of blood flow to the brain. The effects of a stroke depend on which parts of the brain are affected, and can affect body movement, speech, sensory function and even vision. Strokes are also the leading cause of serious long-term disability. After speech impairment, the two most common results of stroke negatively affect a person’s vision.
One stroke-caused visual condition is called hemianopia and is present in about 15% of stroke patients. Hemianopia affects half of a patient’s visual field. Walking straight, reading and many other simple tasks are made extremely difficult because of this condition. A second condition is called diplopia, or double vision. It affects approximately six percent of all stroke patients. Diplopia causes the eyes to fail to work together, causing depth perception issues, a reduced field of vision and everyday confusion.
Other vision effects of a stroke include decreased night vision and the need for more light in order to see properly.
Warning signs of a stroke include:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Numbness in the face, arms, legs or one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, balance issues or lack of coordination
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excess salt intake