Vision problems after stroke

Patient Expert

It's been just over a year since I had refractive eye surgery. I have enjoyed it so much, and I wonder why I didn't do it sooner. It's been great not having to wear my contacts or glasses. I love waking up and being able to see I do have Dry Eye Syndrome, which I had before the surgery as well. I just put some prescriptive drops in my eyes each day to keep my eyes comfortable and healthy. I have noticed here lately, though, that despite my drops, my eyes feel even drier. However, this was no shock to my doctor.

As it turns out, my pregnancy not only causes a long list of discomforts, but it also can cause vision problems. During pregnancy, hormone levels rise, causing some dramatic changes in a woman's body. My doctor told me about some of the potential eye issues that could arise. Those issues include dry eye (already have it), blurry vision, less tolerance of contact lenses and a change in refraction, which would require a different prescription for corrective eyewear. That last one concerned me considering I just spent thousands of dollars on eye surgery! However, I haven't noticed any blurred vision, so I'm hoping I'll be okay. And it was comforting to know that eyesight usually returns to normal after delivery.

My doctor did tell me to be aware of vision problems during pregnancy that may signal other health problems. Blurred vision or seeing spots can be a sign of gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Eclampsia and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy is caused by extremely high blood pressure. These conditions can cause eye hemorrhages and retinal detachment.

As usual, it seems like with my pregnancy I can always find the same issues associated with surviving my stroke. In fact, many stroke survivors have vision problems following a stroke too. During a stroke, part of the brain is damaged, which can cause partial or complete loss of vision. Stroke survivors may also experience blurred vision and eye strain, which can cause confusion. Luckily, I never had any major problems with my vision after my stroke. My problems were mainly my arm, leg and face, which was plenty to overcome. But many survivors do have an opthalmologist or optometrist as part of their rehabilitation team. In fact, many survivors are encouraged to have a thorough eye exam after a stroke. That way, you can be on your way to recovery. Some of the therapies available can help retrain, strengthen or even sharpen vision following a stroke.

One new form of therapy I was reading about is called NovaVision VRT TM. It uses a computer-like device to help improve eye sight after a stroke. The goal of the therapy is to train the healthy parts of the brain to perform the work of the part that was damaged during the stroke. Researchers say the age of the patient or when the stroke occurred makes no difference in the effectiveness of this type of therapy.

By the way, not all pregnant women develop eye problems, but it is recommended that you have routine eye exams by your eye doctor each trimester.