The visual impact of stroke

University of Liverpool researchers have published a new study in PLOS ONE, highlighting the high incidence and prevalence of visual problems in acute stroke survivors, which are currently often under-reported by survivors.

The study team from the University's Department of Health Services Research, led by Professor Fiona Rowe, examined stroke assessments of 1033 patients from three stroke units over one year to ascertain the number of new cases of post-stroke visual impairment (PSVI) and their prevalence. During their hospital stay each patient's visual acuity, visual fields, ocular alignment, ocular motility, visual inattention and visual perception was assessed by an orthoptist.

Excluding pre-existent eye problems, the incidence of new onset visual conditions was 48% for all stroke admissions and 60% in stroke survivors.

Three quarters (73%) had visual problems - 56% with impaired central vision, 40% eye movement abnormalities, 28% visual field loss, 27% visual inattention and 5% visual perceptual disorders.

Prof Rowe said the results were “alarmingly” high. "There are wide-ranging benefits to patients and their carers through early and accurate identification of stroke-related visual problems."

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