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Can Your Eyes and Vision Help Identify a Stroke?

Can Your Eyes and Vision Help Identify a Stroke?

Health and wellness are frequent topics of conversation in the Asheville area. With thousands of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails and dozens of fast-flowing rivers and streams, western North Carolina is a hub for outdoor activity. It makes sense that residents would want to be as healthy and mobile as possible to be able to explore our beautiful mountains.

The health and wellness discussion often centers on diet, exercise, and physical fitness. Of course, those things are important, but your eyes deserve some attention as well. 

Eye health and vision can tell you a lot about your overall wellness. In fact, your eyes may even be able to alert you regarding an impending stroke. 


In this article, we want to help you understand the signs your vision may be giving you about an oncoming stroke, and what you should do about them. 

What Is a Stroke?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when “The blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.” 

When blood flow to your brain is impeded, brain cells will begin to die in just minutes. While fewer Americans die from strokes than in the past, it is a medical emergency, and the key to limiting long-term brain damage and other potential issues is early detection and treatment. 

If you have any concern you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of a stroke, seek help immediately. 

Common Signs of Stroke

Some of the most common signs of stroke include:

  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
  • Paralysis or numbness in the face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden headaches that could be accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Difficulty keeping your balance while walking
  • Problems with your vision in either or both eyes

Again, if you are experiencing any of these signs, you should seek professional medical care immediately. 

How Your Vision Can Alert You About a Stroke

As eye care professionals, we have a special interest in the vision-related signs of stroke. We would never want you to mistake signs of a stroke for common vision issues. Some of the ways your eyes and vision can warn you about a stroke include:

  • Blurred Vision: If your field of vision becomes blurry, it could be a sign of a stroke. 
  • Double Vision: A stroke might cause you to develop rapid double vision. 
  • Midline Shift: An oncoming stroke may make you feel like the floor is slanted. Your body may tilt in order to adjust for the skewed appearance of the walls. 
  • Visual Field Loss: You may experience a reduction in your visual field.
  • Dry Eyes and Sensitivity to Light: You may find that your eyes become incredibly dry or excessively sensitive to light.

Not only are these signs of an impending stroke, but you may find these and other vision issues linger after a stroke.

Is It a Stroke or Vision Issues?

You may be wondering how to tell whether you are experiencing a stroke or vision issues. 

  1. Do not hesitate to get medical attention if you suspect you or a loved one is having a stroke. 
  2. If the vision symptoms are combined with speech, mobility, and other symptoms, you need immediate medical care. 
  3. If the vision symptoms manifest suddenly, it could be indicative of a stroke. 
  4. For vision symptoms that develop slowly over time, you should schedule a visit with your trusted optometrist. 

Even if your vision issues are not directly related to a stroke, they are still a concern. It is important to make sure you are caring for the health of your eyes. 

What to Do After a Stroke

Some people experience lingering vision issues even after they recover from a stroke. The rehabilitation for someone who experiences a stroke can involve everything from mobility to speech. An evaluation of a person's vision and eyes is usually part of the process.

Specialists will likely check your vision and work with you on visual training to help determine whether you need glasses or not. An eye care professional may recommend pursuing further assessment and assistance at a low vision clinic.

There are a number of options that can be utilized to alleviate the visual impacts of a stroke. Depending on how your eyesight has been affected by the stroke, you may need glasses, prisms on glasses, patching, magnifiers, or visual scanning methods. If you suffer visual field loss, there are also computer-based rehabilitation programs that can help you enhance your scanning abilities.

Diet and exercise can also have an impact on your eye health, whether or not you have experienced a stroke. The team at Asheville Vision and Wellness is here to help you in the process. 

You can trust your eye care to us. If you have vision issues or are ready to make sure you are taking care of your eyes as part of your overall health and wellness, schedule a visit with western North Carolina’s trusted eye care professionals.