Suddenly blind: a stroke in the eye

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

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


There is only one artery in the eye that brings blood in and one vein that draws blood. Now there will be this vein blocked, blood cannot flow. It spreads in the retina. However, with further blood entry, the retina massively and bloody thickens. Problem: It’s usually not painful. You will often notice only one deterioration visual acuity or field of vision is limited. Vein obstruction leads to a lack of oxygen in the optic nerve tissue. As a result, optic nerve neurons, the connection between the eye and the brain, die. These cells cannot regenerate. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness within a few months.

Exact causes have not yet been clarified. However, the risk factors are essentially the same as the risk factors for stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes or high blood lipids. However, other factors can also be the cause:

  • eye trauma
  • 40 years and older
  • Smoking
  • Antibabypillen
  • Carotid artery disease
  • kidney disease
  • inflammation of the blood vessels
  • pregnancy

Following symptoms may indicate an eye infarction:

  • Loss of all or part of your sight
  • Patients do not see the eyes
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Blind spots in the field of view

It happens that vision returns when it was just a slight blockage. However, it is here anyway doctor or nurse to prevent possible permanent damage.

The most common form is papillary infarction. This is a circulatory disorder, such as a vein obstruction, which affects women more often than men and most patients are over 50 years old. The cause is vascular inflammation (gigantic arteritis) or vascular calcifications. Symptoms are often severe headaches, which usually occur on both sides. We also observe excessive and painful hypersensitivity of the scalp or pain in the tongue during chewing. The condition worsens very quickly, resulting in double vision and loss of facial features. About half of the patients also report pain in the upper shoulder and neck or hip. However, the eye itself remains painless.

Diagnosis and what to do

On complaint or acute vision loss it is important to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. This person then makes a diagnosis. History is important in the first place. What diseases are present that are classified as risky? What other factors are there? The pupils are opened with eye drops and checked with an ophthalmoscope blockade or were looking for bleeding. Further investigation:

  • field of view measurement: Are there any outages or restrictions?
  • slit lamp: Stereoscopic eye study.
  • Fluorescein angiography: A dye is injected into the arm and spreads into the bloodstream. Once on the retina, a special camera can be used to find out if and which blood vessels are clogged.
  • Optical coherence tomography: The retina dilates with drops and then the eyes are scanned. This creates a detailed image.

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

As with the “classic” lift, speed is crucial here. If it is possible to remove the blockage within approx. 100 minutes eliminated, permanent damage can be prevented. After four hours without treatment, vision is probably permanently damaged. But how is it treated?

  • eye massage: The eye is massaged through the closed lid 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.
  • drugs: The blood clot can be removed and the eye pressure reduced by medication.

what can prevention be done? Only about 10 percent of all those affected are under the age of 45. An eye stroke usually occurs as a result of another health problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Therefore, regularly controls the only way to reduce the risk.

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