Visual impairments after a Stroke

Depending on the severity and the area the stroke has affected, this can cause a number of visual issues. This is because when visual information is sent through the eye and to the brain, the brain then produces an understanding of what it has seen. However, when the brain has been affected by a stroke the information sent to the brain can be affected. There are many different aspects of vision and any one of these could be affected following a stroke. They include:

Inattention – The ability to attend to visual information

Visual fields – amount of visual surround that can be seen when a person looks straight ahead. This is one of the most common areas of visual loss, this often presents as a loss of one half of the visual field (also referred to as a hemianopia). This can cause individuals to have difficulty walking, watching TV, searching for items.

Scanning – ability to organise a thorough search of the visual scene

Acuity – Ability to see clear and precise images for small visual detail. This can result in difficulty reading, recognising objects and faces

Visual memory – ability to create and retain a picture of the object in the mind’s eye

Oculomotor skills – ability of the eye to move accurately and quickly. When affected this can cause double vision, inability to fixate on objects and reduced depth perception

Management and recovery tips

Liaise with a consultant at the hospital or GP for a referral to an ophthalmologist/orthoptist/optometrist to review your eyesight and identify the exact visual issues.

Use an optical aid, this would be a prism on the lenses of your glasses to help reflect the image on your poor side to your good side or to improve double vision

Training can be used to reduce impact of vision loss, for example, encourage individuals to scan left to right regularly to help ensure full visual recognition of a situation or object

If difficulties are present with recognising colours, faces, objects encourage the use of other senses such as touch or hearing.

Encourage tasks that encourage visual processing such as copying numbers, searching for hidden objects, connect 4

Reduce clutter and improve lighting at home

Adaptive equipment can be used to assist such as high watt lights, large clock faces, large buttoned phone

Contact the DVLA to advise them of any changes in your vision. They may advise not to drive until vision has improved.

References
https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/visual_problems_after_stroke.pdf
https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Help-after-stroke/Stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Vision-loss-after-stroke-fact-sheet
https://www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules

stroke ask the ot

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