?An “eye stroke” is a term used to describe a blockage of a vein in the back of the eye. The blockage can be either of the entire back of the eye, a central retinal vein occlusion, or just a part of the back of the eye, a branch retinal vein occlusion.
What are the Symptoms of an Eye Stroke?
The most common symptom of a stroke in the eye is a change or loss of vision.
A central retinal vein occlusion will cause sudden, painless vision loss in the eye. A branch retinal vein occlusion will cause some amount of vision loss and potentially distortion of vision in the eye.
What are the causes of a Stroke in the Eye?
A stroke in the eye can be caused by many factors and will often have more than one factor contribute to the vein occlusion.
Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol are the Main Causes
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all common conditions which affect blood vessels throughout the body.
These conditions each can affect blood vessels in the back of the eye, within the retina. If the retinal vessels become obstructed, then a stroke in the eye can occur.
While any of these conditions can cause a retinal occlusion individually, it is more likely to occur in an individual with more than one of these conditions.
To prevent a stroke in the eye due to diabetes, consult with your doctor about managing your blood sugar and follow the treatment plan in place.
To prevent a stroke in the eye due to high blood pressure, consult with your doctor about reducing your blood pressure and follow the treatment plan given – including regularly monitoring your blood pressure levels.
To prevent a stroke in the eye due high cholesterol, consult with your doctor about lowering your LDL cholesterol levels and follow the treatment plan in place for this.
Medications and Smoking Play a Large Role
Medications all have side effects, and some medications can increase the risk of having a retinal occlusion.
Medications such as oral contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clots in the body. These blood clots can become lodged in the veins in the retina and cause a retinal occlusion.
Smoking introduces many chemicals into the body which are transported into the bloodstream, these chemicals can cause retinal vein changes or occlusions.
Before stopping any medication, consult with the doctor who prescribed it to consider the risks and benefits of the medication.
Ask if there are alternatives which do not increase the risk of a retinal occlusion if you have other risk factors.
Smoking cessation is the best preventative measure to reduce the risk of a retinal occlusion or stroke in the eye. There are many resources available and healthcare personnel trained in this field.
Age and Inflammatory Disease
Both age and inflammatory diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) cannot be prevented, and the risks associated with them can only be modified.
As you age, it is important to get regular comprehensive eye health exams to monitor any changes in the back of the eye.
If you have an inflammatory condition which increases your risk of a retinal occlusion, consult your doctor about treatment options, avoid other risk factors such as smoking, and have regular eye exams to monitor your eye health.
How Our Optometrist Can Diagnose a Stroke in the Eye
A stroke in the eye will require a doctor to evaluate the eye and likely dilate it before diagnosing. If a diagnosis of a central or branch retinal vein occlusion is made, your doctor will inform you of the best options for treatment.
Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye disease. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to be evaluated for a potential eye stroke or want to learn more about them and treatments. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler, provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online!
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430 Arlington Rd. Suite B | Brookville, OH 45309 | 937-770-1265