What You Need to See About an Eye Stroke
by Tracey Pollack
An eye stroke can occur in the blink of an eye. If you don’t know how to spot the signs and recognize when to seek treatment, an eye stroke can lead to serious vision damage and may cause you to lose your sight. But by taking a closer look at the condition and using the following priceless insight, the reasons and the remedies will be right before your eyes.
What is an Eye Stroke?
An eye stroke is formally known as a retinal artery occlusion. According to the American Society of Ophthalmologists (AAO), an eye stroke is a blockage that occurs in one or more of the arteries of the retina, which is a thin layer of tissue that helps you see. These arteries carry blood to the retina. Without proper blood flow, the cells in the retina are starved for oxygen. As a result, the retina can’t function and this can lead to a loss of vision.
Causes of the Condition
Just like a stroke that occurs in the brain, this blockage is caused by either a blood clot in the artery or a build-up of cholesterol on the artery walls. This blockage may only last for a short time if it’s able to break up on its own and restore blood flow to the retina. If the blockage persists, the damage can be substantial or even permanent. According to the American Society of Retinal Specialists (AARS), your risk of an eye stroke increases if you have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.
Warning Signs to Watch For
It’s vital to recognize the symptoms of an eye stroke so you can avoid any long-term damage. Be aware that the symptoms of an eye stroke can appear all of a sudden or may slowly emerge over a number of hours or days. One of the most noticeable indications is when your symptoms show up in only one eye. Experts at the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommend that you look for the following signs:
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Floaters drifting through your field of vision
- Blind spots
- Persistent pressure or discomfort in one eye
- A change in vision that occurs suddenly or worsens by the day
If you experience any of these symptoms, regardless of whether they seem to clear up, contact your doctor right away.
Set Your Sights on Treatment
The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of saving your vision and limiting later complications. According to specialists at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the course of treatment is determined by your age, your general health, your medical history, the symptoms you experience, the severity of the condition and your preferences for treatment. While none of the current treatments for eye stroke are proven to be reliably effective for all patients, the most commonly used therapies include:
- High pressure, or hyperbaric, oxygen
- The removal of fluid from the front of eye to reduce pressure
- Clot-dissolving medications
- Gentle massage of the eye area to dislodge the clot
Now that have a better view of eye strokes, you will be able to spot the symptoms and keep the solutions in sight.