An eye stroke is a dangerous condition where the flow of blood is either obstructed or limited to the tissues on the front part of the optic nerve. Remember that an eye stroke can cause abrupt vision loss.
Causes of an eye stroke
An eye stroke is triggered by poor circulation in the blood vessels supplying the anterior aspect of the optic nerve. It is important to note that the optic nerve is the line that links the brain and the eye and transports a number of nerve fibers as well as blood vessels.
Even though an eye stroke might develop from full obstruction of a blood vessel which supplies the optic nerve, it is frequently caused by diminished pressure or perfusion of the tissue. The pressure of blood has the tendency to change relative to the eye pressure and the normal flow of blood is reduced. In case the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the optic nerve is disrupted, the nerve tissue is damaged and lost, thus resulting to vision loss.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Individuals with an eye stroke are typically given no warning at all. In most cases, there is loss of vision in one eye upon waking up in the morning without any pain. Some individuals notice a darkened area or shadow in the vision that affects the lower or upper half of the visual field. The other symptoms include sensitivity to light and loss of visual contrast.
Once the doctor suspects an eye stroke, the medical history is reviewed and ask about heart diseases and conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol. The blood pressure is checked as well as the visual field and central visual acuity. The doctor might dilate the eyes to check the retina and optic nerve. Additionally, the optic nerve is assessed for pale color or swelling. The normal eye is compared to the affected eye to check for any changes.
Corticosteroids are known to increase the visual acuity in some cases of eye stroke if started early. These medications minimize the leakage of the vessels as well as improve swelling and circulation. In some cases, the doctor might prescribe medications to reduce the eye pressure in hopes to improve the flow of blood to the optic nerve.