Can You Get Stroke in Your Eye?

A stroke need not happen only in the brain, it can also happen in the eye. Yes, you can get stroke in your eye. When the blood supply to the retina via the retinal arteries or veins are blocked for any reason then you will get eye stroke. When these retinal veins are blocked for some reason then the veins leak fluids into your retina, this in turn leads to swelling and restricts the circulation of blood and you will lose your ability to see. Middle aged adults and older adults are at more risk for stroke in the eye. If you have low blood pressure accompanied by any heart problems the you are at high risk for stroke in the eye.

Can You Get Stroke in Your Eye

Causes of Eye Stroke

We always wonder how a stroke occurs and what are its causes, but we give the proper attention only when we experience one.

In order to get to know about them properly, we need to know the basics first. So, a stroke is simply a brain attack where an artery, blood vessel that feeds the brain blocks brain function conducting to low oxygen flow and low blood flow as well. The same goes for an eye stroke. Arteries that feed blood to the retina suddenly blocks and lead to eye vision issues and even permanent vision loss. It can happen any time to anyone.

Eye stroke occurs mostly when blood supply to our eyes is too high or too low or even interrupted. This makes the eye go with low oxygen and nutrients and can lead to cell's death.

Symptoms of Eye Stroke

Each year hundreds of thousands of people experience a new or a recurrent stroke in the eye. You must pay serious attention to an eye stroke and be ready to identify them at the very immediate time as the symptoms come without any warning. There are some symptoms; simple guides that can help you identify eye stroke and how to deal with them.

Note that when symptoms of stroke in your eye begin to manifest, you need to act immediately so they can lead to good treatment.

Here are some basic symptoms of eye stroke that have been defined by specialized people in the field:

  • A sudden loss of vision or eye vision difficulties is the major symptom of stroke in your eye. Blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, double seeing.
  • Sudden dizziness while walking, balance issues or loss of coordination are also symptoms of eye stroke or stroke in your eye.
  • Sudden headache, along with dizziness or vomiting, can lead to the fact that you might deal with an eye stroke.
  • Difficulties with talking and understanding.
  • Numbness or paralysis of legs, arms or face. You may experience a weakness or paralysis development in your face, arm or leg, most commonly on one side of your body.

Tests to Diagnose Eye Stroke

In order to diagnose eye stroke in your eye the physician will check your medical history. They will make sure to consider your present illnesses like high cholesterol, high or low blood pressure and diabetes. The physician will check your retina and eye optic nerve. A comparison between your affected eye and a normal eye will be made for diagnosis.

There are two types of test you can run when you are dealing with eye stroke which are:

  1. Emergency tests. The first one is every time a CT scan followed by some X-rays that enables you to see whether there is a bleeding in the retina. In this way you will be able to know either you are dealing with a ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic one. Other initial tests recommended for ischemic stroke are electrocardiogram. To check heart issues and blood tests, that can be as a lead to treatments and to check conditions that may cause similar symptoms to a stroke. These tests might include Liver and kidney functions, blood sugar, CBC (complete blood count), electrolytes.
  2. Tests that can be done anytime which include carotid angiogram, CT angiogram, MRA(magnetic resonance angiogram), carotid ultrasound(often called Doppler scan) for blood flow through artery evaluation.

Treatment for Eye Stroke

Medicines like corticosteroids may be useful when the diagnosis of stroke in the eye is made early. There are few treatments for stroke in your eye, which includes:

  • In order to open up the eye, the eye adjacent area is massaged.
  • Medications are given to burst the clots, which are present in the retinal arteries or veins.
  • Injecting the eye with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medicines.
  • In order to reduce new clot formation, a therapy known as pan-retinal photocoagulation may also be used.
  • Laser treatment is also used in treating many cases of eye stroke.
  • Oxygen in high pressure is also pumped to treat eye stroke.

In any case, the sooner you get the treatment for eye stroke, the better the chances of your eye recovery.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Eye Stroke

Recovery period or healing time for eye stroke or stroke in your eye varies from individual to individual, based on the core cause and the gravity of the stroke in your eye and how long the blockage was in place.

Lots of people recover their vision back, but they still might encounter some difficulties in seeing. To some people their vision may be somewhat diminished. In recovery periods you need to conduct a healthy lifestyle. You also must reduce vision efforts like reading, watching television and train our eyes with small steps like baby steps. It is advised to avoid polluted areas and keep our eyes protected at any time of the day.

Prevention of Eye Stroke

In order for you to prevent stroke in your eye, or any kind of strokes we need to pay serious attention to our lifestyle. Once in a while we must visit an optometrist doctor that can help us detect, and even help avoiding eye strokes to happen.

An optometrist can be crucial in finding out current eye stroke and also in stopping future eye strokes. You must be informed about the symptoms of an eye stroke and also the importance for essential management when an eye stroke happens.

Complications of Eye Stroke

The possible complications of stroke in your eye are:

  • Swelling of the macula (which is the center of eye retina) is a complication of eye stroke.
  • A condition in which abnormal or new blood vessels develop inside of the eye retina, Neovascularization is a complication.
  • Blindness and neovascular glaucoma are also complications of stroke in your eye.

Prognosis/Outlook for Eye Stroke

The outlook or prognosis for stroke in your eye depends on how early you have detected the problem and the early treatment. The prognosis is also dependent on your current illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension. A regular visit to the doctor is necessary once you have an eye stroke. Consuming fruits and vegetables which help in enhancing your eye vision, regular exercise and maintaining an appropriate weight will help in stopping the recurrence of stroke in your eye. Some vision loss will be present in most of the victims of eye stroke.

Patients who experience a stroke are more likely to have an increase in the expenses for survival and bigger costs for care and recovery.

Lifestyle Changes for Eye Stroke

If you or anyone you know is having an eye stroke, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately. Eye stroke cannot be prevented, but you can reduce your chances of getting it by bringing up few lifestyle changes.

  • Diabetes monitoring is a good lifestyle change for stroke in your eye. Always maintain your blood glucose within the normal level as advised by your doctor
  • Glaucoma increases your eye pressure, which in turn increases the risk of eye stroke and so it has to be treated.
  • Smoking increases the risk of not only eye stroke, but all types of strokes and ceasing smoking is an excellent lifestyle change for stroke in your eye.
  • Checking of cholesterol levels. Regular exercise and diet can bring down cholesterol levels. Taking up blood pressure medications can also reduce the cholesterol levels.
  • Higher levels of blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and a change in your lifestyle can reduce or control it. Intake of blood pressure medications regularly and keeping blood pressure in control reduces the risk of eye stroke.

Coping with Eye Stroke

Knowing how to cope with the after effects of stroke in your eye which are the visual problems, might be called a skill after all. For double vision problems, try always to close one eye using a patch when you read or watch TV. Also, when you read, use a ruler and a marker eventually to highlight the beginning and the end of sentences in order to have a continuous position of the line of the text. Try also to reduce items on your surfaces at home, especially in the kitchen. If there are too many, you might have difficulties in picking single objects.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 21, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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