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Vision after stroke

Visual problems after a stroke are common. These are most commonly caused by damage to the visual pathway that carries information from your eye to the back of your brain. This damage may be temporary or permanent. Unfortunately it is difficult to predict how well you will recover from any visual problems.

The area and extent of your stroke will determine the types of visual problems you have. The most common symptoms are:

  • Loss of part of the visual field (peripheral field loss)
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Reduced awareness to one side
  • Difficulty reading

Speak to your GP if you become aware of any visual changes, as you may need to be referred to an eye specialist.

For more information on the types of visual problems you may have and support that is available, see the CHSS factsheet Visual problems after a stroke.

Living with visual problems can be frustrating and can affect your confidence and your recovery after a stroke. However, there are aids and strategies available that can help you cope better. Speak to your GP or optician (optometrist) initially if you are concerned. They might need to refer you to an eye specialist.

  • An ophthalmologist specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.
  • An orthoptist specialises in the assessment of eye disorders such as muscle balance and visual field loss.

An ophthalmologist can examine you and assess whether you are able to register your sight impairment. If your ophthalmologist feels that you do qualify, he or she will complete a certificate of vision impairment and send it to your local social services department. You will then be contacted to find out what help and advice you need. This can include help around your home as well as developing skills to regain some independence.

There may be local visual-impairment services available for you to be referred on to. Contact RNIB Scotland for details.