Suddenly blind: stroke in the eye

  • What is a stroke in the eye?
  • What are the causes?
  • How do you recognize him?
  • Who is at risk?
  • What can you do about it?

The second most common retinal vascular disease is the retinal vein occlusion, also called a stroke in the eye. How can you prevent it and what to do if it occurs? Is there a cure?

The reasons

In the eye, there is only one artery that takes blood in and one vein that takes blood out. Will now this vein blocked, the blood cannot flow out. It spreads in the retina. However, as blood continues to enter, massive and bloody thickening of the retina occurs. The problem: It is usually not painful. You often only notice one deterioration visual acuity or field of vision is restricted. The occlusion of the vein leads to a lack of oxygen in the optic nerve tissue. As a result, the neurons of the optic nerve, the connection between the eye and the brain, die. These cells cannot regenerate. Left untreated, this can lead to blindness within a few months.

The exact causes are not yet clarified. But the risk factors are basically identical to those of a stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes or high blood lipid levels. But other factors can also be the cause:

  • eye trauma
  • 40 years and older
  • Smoking
  • Antibaby pills
  • Disease of the carotids (carotid arteries)
  • kidney disease
  • inflammation of the blood vessels
  • pregnancy

The following symptoms can indicate an eye infarction:

  • Loss of all or part of your vision
  • Patients are unable to see out of their eyes
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Blind spots in the field of vision
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It happens that vision returns when it was just a slight blockage. However, in any case, here is a doctor or nurse to avoid possible permanent damage.

The most common form is the papilinfarkt. This is a circulatory disorder, such as a blockage in the vein, which affects women more often than men and most patients are over 50 years old. Causes here are vascular inflammation (giant cell arteritis) or vascular calcification. Symptoms are often severe headaches, which usually occur on both sides. Excessive and painful hypersensitivity of the scalp or pain in the tongue when chewing are also observed here. The condition deteriorates very quickly, resulting in double vision and loss of facial features. Pain in the upper shoulder area and in the neck or hip area is also reported in about half of the patients. However, the eye itself remains pain-free.

The diagnosis and what to do

For complaints or acute vision loss it is important to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. This person then makes the diagnosis. First of all, the history is important. What diseases are present that are classified as a risk? What other factors are there? The pupils are opened with eye drops and checked with an ophthalmoscope blockages or bleeding sought. Further investigations:

  • visual field measurement: Are there any outages or limitations?
  • Split lamp: A stereoscopic study of the eyes.
  • Fluoreszin-Angiography: A dye is injected into the arm, which spreads into the bloodstream. Once in the retina, a special camera can be used to determine whether and which blood vessels are blocked.
  • Optical coherence tomography: The retina is expanded with drops and then the eyes are scanned. This creates a detailed picture.

Tests can also be done to look for other causes that may be in other parts of the body.

As with a “classic” stroke, speed is also crucial here. If it is possible to clear the blockage within approx. 100 minutes eliminated, permanent damage may be avoided. After four hours without treatment, vision is likely to be permanently damaged. But how is it treated?

  • eye massage: The eye is massaged through the closed eyelid to remove the clot.
  • carbon dioxide oxygen: A mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen is inhaled. This dilates the arteries and increases blood flow to the retina.
  • Paracentesis: A small needle is used to draw a few drops of fluid from the front of the eye, reducing pressure and increasing blood flow to the retina.
  • medication: The blood clot can be removed and the eye pressure lowered by administering medication.

what can prevention be done? Only about 10 percent of all those affected are younger than 45 years. An eye stroke usually occurs because of another medical problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Therefore, regular check-ups the only way to reduce the risk.



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