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Recently, we talked about how strokes affect the eyes, including partial or complete vision loss. Today, we are going to discuss treatment for stroke-related vision loss and the signs of a stroke. It is important to recognize stroke symptoms right away and seek immediate emergency treatment if you suspect that you or someone you know is having a stroke. Vision loss or blindness related to stroke may be permanent without prompt medical intervention.

HOW IS STROKE-RELATED VISION LOSS TREATED?

After diagnosis of stroke, and after emergency treatment has been administered, vision rehabilitation may be initiated. Although most vision loss cannot be reversed, it is possible to recover some lost vision or to learn to compensate for lost vision. There are two primary treatments that may be of help to stroke victims with vision loss.

Compensatory vision therapy involves two possible approaches. Prisms or other tools may be used to shift images from the non-seeing area to the remaining visual field. Scanning training involves learning to use the remaining visual field to scan a larger area to capture images from the area that would normally be seen by the part of the eye that has lost vision.

Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) is a type of visual training that involves retraining the brain. VRT is specifically tailored to the patient’s particular type of vision loss, and works by training the brain to reorganize connections within the brain in order to relearn to see. In VRT, the patient is asked to focus vision on a specific point while stimuli are introduced to force the brain to recognize new or special patterns.

THE BEST WAY TO PROMOTE STROKE RECOVERY

The best line of defense against a stroke and to increase the odds of recovery are to know the signs of stroke and to get treatment as fast as possible. The National Stroke Association has created the acronym F.A.S.T. as a guideline to follow in determining if someone might be having a stroke. Follow F.A.S.T. to ensure swift treatment:

F — Face: Does one side of the face suddenly appear to be drooping, immobile, or not symmetrical to other half? When the person tries to smile, does it look lopsided?

A — Arms: Is one arm suddenly weak or immobile? Or one leg, or one half of the entire body? Or, does the arm, leg, or side of the body suddenly feel numb?

S — Speech: Is the speech slurred or incomprehensible? Does the person seem to know what they want to say but none of the words are coming out right? Do they suddenly seem confused and respond inappropriately?

T — Time: Note what time you last saw the person behaving normally AND what time the symptoms started. Call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY upon observing any of these symptoms so that treatment may be given as soon as possible. Treatment within the first three hours of onset of symptoms results in the best chances of recovery.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from a stroke, call 9-1-1 and seek immediate emergency help. If you are not suffering from these symptoms but would like to learn more about strokes and vision, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at 816-358-3600. Whether you’ve had a previous stroke that affects your vision or you would simply like to know more about strokes and the eyes, we look forward to hearing from you.

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