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Stroke

Stroke caused blindness: help needed

02/13/2006

Question:

Dear Doctor My grandfather,76-year old, currently living in Dalian, China, is a 20-year High Blood Pressure and Stroke patient. His condition had been relatively stable up until about a week ago (Feb 01) when he suddenly had this stroke attack. He first felt that his left body is a little `num` so he decided to take a nap. After he wakes up from it, he completely lost his eye sights (both eyes). My parents took him to a nearby hospital right away and the doctors x-rayed and CT-scaned him. From the X-ray results, it is obvious that stroke is the direct cause of his vision loss. My question is, is there any effective medicine that we can use to help with his blindness so maybe a few years down the road he could see the world again? Or maybe if you can tell me where to go to get help it would be great too! I love him very much and I am personally devastated. Where I come from in China is not very advanced in terms of medical facilities. As a result I will highly appreciate any advice or help that you could provide. 

Answer:

Without being able to fully examine your grandfather, given only the information you have provided, I cannot determine if stroke indeed is the cause of his blindness.  Certainly strokes can cause blindness, so it is possible.  When this occurs, the stroke must involve both occipital lobes (the most posterior part of the brain), where vision functions reside. 

Strokes that involve the cortex of the brain often do not recover well.  Vision in particular is not typically recovered.  I am not aware of any medication, therapy, or device that helps in recovery.  Unfortunately, one must simply wait and hope that some vision returns on its own.

I certainly wish him the best of luck.

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati