Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

American Stroke Month

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern

May, American Stroke Month, seeks to raise awareness of the medical emergency and inform Americans about its signs so it can be detected early and complications can be mitigated. Among these complications are several affecting vision, involving eye movement and visual field, with approximately two-thirds of stroke survivors experiencing some vision loss. The particular impact depends on which regions of the brain are affected, but those most directly related to vision are the occipital lobe and the brainstem. Acting as our “vision center,” the occipital lobe makes sense of visual information received, while the brainstem controls eye movement and helps us identify objects. Vision-related conditions that can emerge after a stroke include nystagmus, causing rapid horizontal or vertical eye movement; scotoma, which is a blind spot in one’s visual field; and spatial inattention, where visual information is received properly by the eye, but isn’t processed by the brain. In order to identify a stroke as early as possible, the American Stroke Association, provides F.A.S.T., standing for Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, and Time to Call 911. By working on a treatment plan with the appropriate specialist, an optometrist, ophthalmologist, neuro-ophthalmologist, or neuro-optometrist, some visual issues can improve over time and all can be managed with adaptations. For additional information, check out the website from the American Stroke Association. To read more about the vision-related issues caused by stroke, read this article from Healthline, Vision Loss After Stroke: Why It Happens, How to Cope With It.