Millions of people die or suffer permanent disability from stroke each year. It is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of stroke, one of the health problems for which early intervention is most important. A sudden stop in blood flow to the brain can occur in different ways depending on which part of the organ is affected. Sometimes the blood supply to the eye is cut off, causing eye paralysis. While the condition can be treated if diagnosed early, it can be a sign of a more serious stroke.
GIVES EARLY WARNING
There is mounting evidence that early damage to the small blood vessels leading to the eyes can predict impending cardiovascular disease. Sometimes these blockages cause sudden changes in vision, such as blurriness, dark areas, or shadows. “Ocular (eye) strokes can be a precursor to a more serious stroke,” warns Harvard Health.
IF THE TREATMENT IS DELAYED
THE PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT When a stroke occurs, it almost always occurs in only one of the eyes. Fortunately, vision returns 80 percent of the time when there is a less severe blockage in the smaller arteries. However, the situation remains dangerous, as the lack of blood supply to the tissues in the anterior part of the optic nerve can have serious consequences for vision if treatment is delayed.
LOSS OF SIGHT IS EXPERIENCED IN A SINGLE EYE
The optic nerve transmits signals to the brain and contains millions of nerve fibers and blood vessels. When completely cut off from the supply of nutrients and oxygen, nerve tissue is damaged, which can lead to vision loss. Penn University’s website states, “People with eye palsy often receive little warning. Most people with eye palsy notice that they have vision loss in one eye when they wake up in the morning with no pain. Some people have a dark area in their sight that affects the upper or lower half of their field of vision. Or the shadow will notice.”
SOME PEOPLE ARE MUCH HIGHER RISK
The health agency adds, “Other symptoms include loss of visual contrast and light sensitivity.” Penn Medicine explains that some people are at higher risk of developing this condition because of their disc shape. This is because nerve fibers going to the brain and down the optic nerve must enter the eye through a hole known as the optic foramen. If a person’s opening is smaller than average, it can cause crowding of the optic nerves. The health organization adds, “Although the relationship is not well understood, people with significant cardiovascular disease who are also taking Viagra medications are at greater risk for the disease.”