Published: Sun, January 22, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Risk, Symptoms, and Treatments for Eye Stroke

Risk, Symptoms, and Treatments for Eye Stroke

Sudden vision loss without pain is the most common symptom of stroke involving your eye. An eye stroke, or anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION), is a condition in which blood flow is either blocked or reduced to the tissues of the anterior part of the optic nerve. An eye stroke can cause sudden loss of peripheral vision, distorted vision, and blind spots in your vision, and while it may be frightening, prompt medical attention can prevent or limit vision loss.

Did I Have an Eye Stroke?

People with eye stroke are usually given little warning. Most people with eye stroke notice of vision in one eye upon waking in the morning, with no pain. Some people notice a dark area or shadow in their vision that affects the upper or lower half of their visual field. Other symptoms include loss of visual contrast and light sensitivity.

Diagnosing Eye Stroke

If your doctor suspects eye stroke, he or she will review your medical history and ask about cardiovascular disease and conditions You may have diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. Your blood pressure will be measured, as well as your central visual acuity and visual field. Your doctor will usually dilate your eyes to examine your optic nerve and retina. Your doctor will also examine your optic nerve to check for possible color or possibly optic disc swelling.

Your doctor will be compared to the affected eye to detect changes.

Also carefully rule out arterial ION (a serious eye stroke affecting the optic nerve) and ask about symptoms such as fever, headache, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, weight loss, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

Types of Occlusions

Eye stroke is caused by poor circulation in the blood vessels that supply the front portion of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the cable that connects the brain to the eye and carries millions of nerve fibers and blood vessels.

Although an eye stroke can occur from a total blockage of a blood vessel that feeds the optic nerve, It is more commonly caused by a lack of pressure or perfusion of the tissue.

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Blood pressure may change relative to the eye pressure and the normal flow of blood is reduced. If the optic nerve's nutrient and oxygen supply is cut off, nerve tissue is damaged and lost, resulting in vision loss.

Are You at Risk?

Eye stroke is more common in middle -aged people and the elderly. Approximately 10 percent of patients who are affected with previous ischemic optic neuropathy are under the age of 45.

Cardiovascular disease raises your risk for developing the disease. In some patients with cardiovascular disease, blood pressure falls markedly while sleeping. This low blood pressure reduces circulation through those arteries, increasing the chance of an eye stroke, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, and helping reduce your risk for eye stroke.

Some physicians also feel that newer, more powerful Anti-hypertensive medications may reduce blood pressure too low when sleeping, putting people at risk for eye stroke, so make sure to discuss with your doctor if you are on an anti-hypertensive and concerned. There may be a different option available for you.

Corticosteroids have been shown to increase visual acuity in some cases of eye stroke if started early enough, which is why it is crucial to visit your doctor if you notice sudden changes in your vision.

Corticosteriods reduces leakiness Of the vessels and improve swelling and circulation. They are the treatment of choice in AION because it is an eye stroke that appears to be more commonly caused by reduced blood flow and inflammation, as opposed to a true blockage of a blood vessel from a small particle, or emboli. Some doctors may also prescribe drugs to lower blood pressure in hopes to improve blood flow to the optic nerve.

There has been some research on the potential to prescribe medications that act as neuro-protection, that may regenerate nerve Fibers in the optic nerve. However, there is no conclusive evidence that these drugs provide any benefit. Other treatment is aimed at controlling cardiovascular risk factors so eye stroke does not occur to the other eye, as there is a 30 percent chance that it will happen to the other eye within three years.

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