Visual impairment in stroke survivors

RBC | Approximately 65 percent of stroke survivors have visual problems. The impairments typically result in central or peripheral vision, abnormal eye movement and/or visual perceptual problems.

Symptoms may include blurred or altered vision, double or jumbled vision, loss of visual field, reading difficulty, inability to recognize familiar objects or people and glare.

Research found when visual assessments were performed 22 days after the onset of a stroke, 92 percent of those tested had some form of impairment including:

Reduced clarity of vision (central visual acuity)

16 percent had developed a squint.

68 percent had impairments to eye movement.

Peripheral visual field loss was present in 52 percent.

15 percent developed a condition causing them to ignore everything on one side of their visual world. The condition, known as visual inattention, usually affects people who have had a right sided stroke and they ignore things on their left side.

84 percent had a blockage of normal blood flow to the eye’s internal structures, including the optic nerve. This may lead to loss of peripheral vision. A stroke may also damage portions of the brain where images are processed, leading to blind spots in the visual field.  Blind spots are the most common complaint followed by blurred vision, reading difficulty, and double vision.

A wide range of visual disorders may occur following stroke. There are equally a wide variety of treatment options available for individuals having visual impairment caused by a stroke. All stroke survivors should have early screening for visual impairment.