Stroke is synonymous with the brain and eyes are rarely given a priority. Also, people who suffer from a stroke in the eyes don’t go for follow up consultations and hence, increase their chances of suffering from a brain stroke at later stages, according to a study.
Eyes contain nerves and tissues that send signals to the brain to create images. All these happen in the shortest of timeframe which is beyond our imagination. Retina is the most important tissue residing at the back of the eye responsible for moving blood to and from the heart with the help of veins and arteries. This passage of blood is critical for vision and any disturbance or blockage in the retina’s blood vessels affects vision and can even lead to permanent blindness.
An eye stroke, or retinal infarction, typically happens when blood flow in the arteries of the retina is blocked. There is either partial or complete loss of vision depending on the intensity of the stroke. Neither patients nor physicians take too much pressure with eye stroke. While the individual is mostly to be blamed as he/she does not follow up for an evaluation for a classic stroke, less than 1 in 10 patients are referred to a neurologist. This is both shocking and surprising knowing that a stroke in the eye which is a part of the brain is not monitored by a neurologist.
The study found that both the above factors are important as one in 100 eye stroke patients had a cerebral stroke within 90 days. Risk factors of eye stroke and brain stroke are similar and include:
Eye strokes are painless but cause serious effects. They can cause partial/total vision loss. Some people have blind spots or “floaters”, blurry vision or vision distortion. If the stroke is left unattended, the affected organ will be permanently damaged.
Eye Stroke Denotes Brain Problem
Fatty plaque in the neck could contribute towards an eye stroke. Most eye stroke patients don’t get their neck nerves tested. Also, when you or I have an eye complaint, we don’t go to the doctor and verify if it is an eye stroke or not. Doctors also compare eye strokes with ischemic attacks as the symptoms such as slurred speech, headache or weakness on one side of the body are similar to that of an ischemic attack.
What everyone must understand is that eye strokes must be considered as serious as brain strokes because retina, from which eye stroke originates, is part of the brain. An eye stroke is kind of a signal or warning against a bigger stroke. Read more on stroke, its symptoms and warning signs at www.firsteatright.com.
Ophthalmologists need to understand the need to send eye stroke patients to a neurologist or cardiologist for a stroke risk evaluation. It is also the duty of the neurologist to consider eye stroke as damaging as brain stroke and receive the same degree of treatment.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.