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Can Vision Problems Interfere With Stroke Recovery?

April 29 2022

Can Vision Problems Interfere With Stroke Recovery?


Most everyone knows how important good vision is to navigating everyday life, from reading, to driving, to enjoying walks in nature. What’s not as well-known is the critical role vision plays in creating memories, forming perceptions, thinking, and even balance and coordination. If you still have difficulty carrying out everyday tasks after months or even years of stroke rehabilitation, vision problems may be the cause. 


Read on as a vision therapy optometrist in Annapolis, MD discusses how vision problems can stunt your stroke recovery efforts and how vision therapy can help. 


Stroke Vision Symptoms That Often Get Missed


Your ability to see not only relies on the health of your eyes, but also on how well your eyes work with the brain’s visual system.


Good vision results when:


  • Your eyes can receive clear images
  • The vision processing centers in your brain can interpret and process the information sent by your eyes


Different parts of the brain handle different aspects of vision. The brain’s occipital lobe processes images. The brain’s temporal and parietal lobes enable visual-spatial awareness, object identification, and object categorization. Unfortunately, standard eye tests only examine your eyes’ ability to process images. 


For these reasons, stroke-related vision symptoms can get overlooked. Until these problems are identified and treated, your ability to recover from a stroke may be limited or even stunted. 


Here are just a few of the types of vision-based symptoms that can result from a stroke:


  • Headaches
  • Dizzy spells
  • Memory problems
  • Blurry vision
  • Unsteady gait or leaning to one side
  • Problems focusing, thinking, and concentrating
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Double vision


The Effects of Stroke on Functional Vision Processes 


The effects of a stroke cause damage to brain cells to the point where they no longer work properly. When these effects impact the areas of the brain that handle functional vision processes, vision rehabilitation becomes just as necessary as physical rehabilitation. 


Function-based vision problems have to do with:


  • The way your eyes work together as a team
  • Your eyes’ ability to switch between near and far objects
  • Your brain’s ability to interpret and make sense out of what your eyes see
  • Your eyes’ ability to track or move smoothly from place to place, such as when reading text on a page


When these areas are left untreated, recovering from a stroke becomes that much harder.


Vision Therapy for Stroke Recovery  


Vision therapy is a specialty branch of optometry that focuses on identifying and treating functional vision problems. Rather than just evaluate your eyes, a vision therapy optometrist examines the extent to which your eyes-brain communications have been affected by a stroke. 


From there, the optometrist puts together a vision rehabilitation treatment plan that addresses your specific recovery needs. The overall goal of vision therapy works to restore clear lines of communication between your eyes and your brain. 


If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call our office or schedule an appointment with one of our vision therapy optometrists in Annapolis, MD. 


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