Did you know that a stroke could likewise occur in the eyes, and not only the brain? This is known as retinal vessel occlusion. The blood vessels transport oxygen and essential nutrients to all parts of the body.
But when these blood vessels get obstructed or narrowed due to a blood clot, the blood supply will naturally be cut off. And, in turn, it could sustain severe damage in the form of a stroke. When an eye stroke occurs, the blood clot impacts the retina, causing blockage of the retinal veins and fluid leakage into the retina.
Consequently, swelling will occur, preventing the circulation of oxygen and negatively affecting your vision.
Why Eye Strokes Happen
Eye strokes are caused by blood flow resulting that result in retinal damage, which is normally due to a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. However, it isn’t always evident why eye strokes happen, but some health issues could raise the risk of an eye stroke occurring.
Most individuals are likewise more susceptible to experiencing eye strokes due to ageing, and it’s more prevalent in males than females. Certain health conditions also increase the risk of eye strokes, such as:
- Issues that negatively impact blood flow, like having high cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Heart diseases
- Rare blood disorders
- Neck or carotid artery narrowing
How to Know If You Have an Eye Stroke
The main problem with detecting an eye stroke is that it usually comes on suddenly, with little to no warning. Majority of individuals, however, state that they notice vision loss in one eye after waking up in the morning. Some individuals see a shadow or dark area in their visual field’s lower or upper half.
Other warning signs include sensitivity to light and losing visual contrast.
How Eye Stroke is Treated
Treatment would significantly depend on the severity of damage brought on by the eye stroke, as well as the individual’s overall health. Potential treatment options include the following:
- Eye massage for opening the retina.
- Corticosteroid injections.
- Clot-busting medications.
- Injections of Anti-vascular endothelial growth factors.
- Laser therapy.
- Hyperbaric or high-pressure oxygen.
- Pan-retinal photocoagulation treatment for those with new blood vessel growth following the eye stroke.
The main thing to remember is that the earlier the diagnosis, the better so that you can begin treatment sooner. This will also help increase your chances of salvaging all or part of your vision. You will likewise need to get treatment for any underlying conditions that could lead to blood clot formation.
Managing Potential Vision Changes
How much an eye stroke will impact your vision will depend on your specific circumstances. If your “good eye” was the one affected and you already have existing vision issues, you might need to use aids such as lenses or glasses for or to address visual disability to maximise the use of your remaining vision.
Also, due to the possibility of experiencing severe complications, you should follow all your doctor’s instructions and keep track of other health problems that could further impact your vision.
Make sure to inform your doctor of any changes to your vision or new symptoms relating to your vision when they occur.