There are many different causes of vision problems. They may be less common, but both traumatic brain injuries and stroke are well-known for triggering the onset of a range of different long-term issues, including visual problems.
A traumatic brain injury, also known as a TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. It is also a major cause of disability. Traumatic brain injuries most often occur when there is a blunt blow, bump or jolt to the head, such as in the case of a car accident or a bad fall. It can also occur if you experience a penetrating injury, such as if a sharp object or bullet pierces the skull and brain. A stroke can also be considered a traumatic brain injury since it causes damage to the brain cells.
A stroke is a serious and potentially life-altering or life-threatening medical condition. There are several different types of stroke:
The vast majority (around 87%) of strokes occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. This is known as an ischemic stroke and normally occurs as a result of a blood clot preventing blood flow.
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain either leaks blood or ruptures, causing too much pressure to be placed onto the brain cells, permanently damaging them.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are better known as mini-strokes since the blood flow to the brain is only blocked temporarily and for a short amount of time – normally less than 5 minutes. However, a TIA is still considered a medical emergency, as well as a warning sign of a full stroke in the future.
Vision problems that occur after a stroke are a result of damage to your brain caused by a lack of blood flow. This is because part of your brain receives and interprets information from your eyes. If this area of the brain is affected by the stroke, many of the effects you will experience following your illness will be visual. Similarly, if your TBI has affected the same part of your brain, you can expect to experience problems with your vision too.
Your visual field refers to everything that you can see, left to right and up to down. Most people enjoy a wide field of vision that enables them to detect things out of the corner of their eye as well as what is right in front of them.
A reduction of your visual field is a common effect of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Some people may lose one side of their field of vision, while others may find that their central vision is affected.
We can move our eyes without moving the rest of our body, but sometimes having a stroke or TBI can affect our ability to do this. This is because there is damage to the part of the brain that controls eye movement which can make moving visually between objects more difficult than before. Some people may experience a condition called nystagmus, which occurs when the eyes are constantly moving so that objects seem to wobble even when they and you are perfectly still.
A stroke or TBI can also affect the way in which your brain can process the information that it receives from your eyes. Sometimes it may ignore visual messages, or interpret them incorrectly, causing you to bump into objects that you haven’t noticed or that you have judged to be further away than they really are.
If you are concerned that you are experiencing visual problems following a stroke or traumatic brain injury, visit Bernstein Center for Visual Performance in White Plains, New York. Call (914) 682-8886 to schedule an appointment today.