What Is An Eye Stroke?

Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (ANION) or simply an eye stroke is a dangerous condition that happens when blood flow to the eye is blocked or reduced.

This condition damages the optic nerve and results to loss of vision which may either be temporary or permanent.

According to a medical research conducted in the UK in 2007, individuals who have experienced a series of such strokes are prone to Myocardial Infarction or strokes.

This medical conclusion highlights the importance of visiting an ophthalmologist and a vascular specialist once a stroke has occurred.

Causes Of Eye Stroke

As mentioned earlier, eye strokes occur when there is insufficient blood supply.

When there isn’t enough blood in the eye tissue, there isn’t enough oxygen and nutrient supply for the optic nerve to function properly. When this happens, the optic nerve cannot deliver picture messages to the brain and an individual becomes blind.

Aside from this, the risk for having a stroke of the eye is also caused by different factors such as age, medical history, drug intake and having a crowded optical disc.

There is an increased risk for individuals who are middle-aged and who have had a history of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension or diabetes.

As for drug intake, Viagra has been named as one that can increase the risk for this type of eye disease.

These strokes also happen when a person is diagnosed with a crowded disc, which means that the optic nerve is larger than its normal size and takes up the space of the optic disc.

Discover more about optic nerve strokes

What are the symptoms?

Eye strokes are categorized into two – the AAION (arteritic) and NAION (non-arteritic), the latter being the most common and less serious.

Each of these has different symptoms.

When a person is having a stroke categorized as NAION, he or she experiences painless loss of vision in a single eye in a form of a shadow in the upper or lower half of their field of vision upon waking up. He or she can also experience sensitivity to light and loss of visual contrast. This type stroke is experienced by young people and affects more than 10,000 Americans every year.

Are you at risk of an eye stroke?

On the other hand, the symptoms for AAION which is mostly experienced by older people are jaw muscle spasms which are painful, unintentionalweight loss, fatigue, and tenderness of the scalp, loss of appetite and muscle pain.

Learn how strokes of the eye also increase stroke risk in general

Can this condition be treated?

Unless the effects of the stroke are permanent, treatment is possible.

At the early stage of a stroke, corticosteroids are prescribed to augment visual acuity, reduce swelling of blood vessels and enhance circulation. Miotics are also used to lower eye pressure and improve blood supply.

In other cases of strokes of the eye, especially those that have resulted from cardiovascular disease such as hypertension or diabetes, treatment is focused on managing and controlling cardiovascular risk factors.

An eye stroke, even the painless type, is a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention. If you have had it, see a doctor immediately.

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Updated: June 5, 2013 — 5:19 am

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