Hemianopsia is a “common” vision problem that can occur after a stroke.
Strokes are serious and life-threatening medical emergencies. They occur when the blood supply to an area of the brain is temporarily cut off. This may be due to a ruptured blood vessel or, in most cases, a blood clot causing a blockage.
The sooner a person gets medical help, the better their recovery from a stroke will be.
However, some problems may persist for some time after the event.
During a stroke, a person may experience vision problems, including sudden loss or blurring.
According to the Stroke Association, two-thirds of stroke survivors have vision problems.
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One such vision problem is hemianopia, which is also known as homonymous hemianopia.
“Hemianopia means loss of the left or right half of the visual field of both eyes. This is the most common type,” the Stroke Association said in a statement.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) also describes hemianopia as a “common problem” after a stroke.
“Hemianopia is the loss of half of your visual field,” it says.
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“This could mean that you cannot see either to the left or to the right of the center of your visual field with both eyes.
“If you have a stroke on one side of the brain, you may develop field loss on the opposite side.
“For example, if a stroke affects the right side of your brain, it can affect left-sided vision in each eye.”
Problems caused by hemianopia
The RNIB reports: “While hemianopia does not affect all of your vision, it can still cause problems in everyday life, such as finding things, getting through traffic on the street, or becoming disorientated in crowded places like supermarkets.
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“Reading can also be a very frustrating experience with hemianopia, as words and sentences disappear when they are in an absent field of vision.
“Sometimes it can be helpful to use a marker at the end of a sentence or a sticky note to indicate where the end of a line is.
“A typoscope (a card with a cut-out rectangular field) or a strip magnifier (a long, thin magnifier with a guide on it) can be helpful because it makes it easier to focus on a line of text at a time. It can also be helpful to skew the text and read it vertically.
“Sometimes with hemianopia, you may not be aware that you can’t see out of part of your visual field.
“You can be taught scanning techniques (eye movement patterns) in the direction of hemianopia to compensate for that.”
Stroke survivors may also be at risk for scotoma.
The Stroke Association says: “A scotoma is a small patch of vision loss, often close to the center of vision. This is a less common type of visual field loss.”
If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 999 immediately.
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