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Vision Therapy for Stroke Recovery – How Does It Help?

December 31 2021

Recovering from a stroke can be a long and arduous process, especially when needed treatment interventions are lacking. Unfortunately, a treatment plan that focuses solely on physical and occupational rehabilitation doesn’t address the breakdown in communication that occurs between your brain and your vision. 


The brain plays a central role in interpreting what your eyes see, which affects both your mind and your body’s ability to function in daily life. Vision rehabilitation picks up where physical and occupational therapies leave off, restoring clear lines of communication between your brain and your vision. In this post, an Annapolis, Maryland optometrist talks about how vision therapy can help improve your stroke recovery process.   


The Often-Missed Effects of Stroke


The brain consists of a complex network of subsystems that work together to regulate the body’s many processes, and vision is one of those processes. Most people may think vision is solely a function of the eyes when actually, it’s a function of the brain. The process of vision requires the brain to assign meaning to the things you see. 


Vision mediates as much as 80 to 85 percent of your cognitive, learning, and perceptual abilities. This alone reflects how big a role the brain plays in the visual process. It also accounts for the types of symptoms many people experience after having a stroke, such as:


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory problems
  • Double vision
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Headaches when doing visual tasks
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Leaning to one side when walking


A few of these symptoms may not seem vision-related, however, the brain’s role in processing what’s seen affects many of the body’s functions. Vision rehabilitation focuses on helping to restore your brain’s ability to correctly interpret what you see.


How Does Vision Rehabilitation Help With Stroke Recovery?


While physical rehabilitation can be of benefit when recovering from a stroke, it’s not designed to treat the underlying conditions that affect spatial orientation, perception, and other visual effects that result from having a stroke. On the other, visual rehabilitation addresses the source of these problems, which is brain-vision impairment. And when the damage done to the brain-vision connection goes untreated, this can actually slow, and even stunt, the progress you make in both physical therapy and occupational therapy.


Vision changes caused by stroke or any form of traumatic brain injury are complex and each person’s situation is different. For these reasons, your vision rehabilitation should be handled by an optometrist that has specialized training in neuro-optometry. In this way, you’re sure to receive an accurate diagnosis and be placed on an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.



If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call our Annapolis, Maryland optometry office, today.


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