When people think of strokes, they immediately think of an abnormality occurring in the brain.
However, it can happen in the eyes too. This type of stroke is referred to as retinal artery occlusion or stroke of the eye.
Stroke of the eye is a frightening condition that causes people to lose vision in one eye in a matter of hours or days.
It strikes up to 6,000 people a year in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A stroke affecting the eye is a blockage in the blood vessels in your retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye.
“This can happen due to certain risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, glaucoma, small optic nerve ratio and many other things,” said optometrist Dr. Ashley Setterberg.
The most common symptom of a stroke affecting the eye is a sudden painless vision loss.
“So it can start and gradually increase over hours to days. You can have floaters which are small gray spots floating around in your vision. You can have blurry vision, which steadily worsens in one section of your field of vision or all of one eye. And you can have complete vision loss that can occur suddenly, or gradually over time,” said Setterberg.
While it may not always be possible to prevent eye strokes from occurring, there are a few things you can do to help decrease the chances of having one.
“We can see quite a few symptoms from a regular dilated eye exam, fundus photos, and other special testing. There are different treatments, such as injections into the eye, eylea steroids, and even anti-blood clotting agents. It is very important to have these annual eye exams, so we can catch any signs that may be a precursor to it or a risk factor,”said Setterberg.
Experiencing a sudden loss of vision can be a scary situation. If you or anyone you know happens to find themselves experiencing vision loss possibly caused by an eye stroke, seek medical attention immediately.
A cerebral stroke, which affects blood flow to the brain, can also cause sudden vision loss or changes in vision. For this reason, any sudden changes to vision require emergency medical attention.
The longer any stroke is left untreated, the more likely it is that the affected organs will be permanently damaged.
Who Is At Risk for a Stroke Affecting the Eye?
Men are more likely to have a stroke involving the eye than women. The disease is most commonly found in people in their 60s. Having certain diseases increases your risk of an eye stroke. These include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure; and
- Narrowing of the carotid or neck artery
Most people know that high blood pressure and other vascular diseases pose risks to overall health, but many may not know that high blood pressure can affect vision by damaging the arteries in the eye.
Eye stroke symptoms:
Floaters – Small gray spots floating around in your field of vision. Floaters occur when blood and other fluids leak and then clump up in the fluid inside the eye.
Pain or pressure – Can signal a problem with the eye, however, true eye strokes are often painless.
Blurry vision – Steadily worsens in one section of your field of vision or all of one eye.
Complete vision loss – Can occur suddenly, or gradually over time.
Prevention tips for stroke of the eye:
Properly manage your diabetes – Keep glucose levels in ideal ranges as set by your doctor.
Treat your glaucoma – This condition raises intraocular pressure, increasing your risk for eye stroke. Follow the treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor to avoid any possible complication.
Control blood pressure – Poorly controlled blood pressure is a major risk factor for the contribution of eye strokes, therefore, keeping blood pressure controlled with diet and exercise, plus any prescribed medications, will help a great deal.
Manage cholesterol levels – Diet and exercise will help reduce levels in addition to any prescribed medication.
Original Source: http://www.kristv.com/story/36677114/reducing-risk-for-eye-stroke
Original Date: Oct 25 2017