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Eye and Vision Care

Mini Stroke and Eye Problems

03/12/2010

Question:

I had a mini stroke when I was 34 years old. I have eye problems, so I only use one eye at a time. It was not until I covered my right eye that I noticed I couldn`t see out of my left eye. I went to my eye specialist at that time and he sent me to a specialist right away because he could not see anything wrong with my eye.

After three days my sight came back. But I am still having problems with seeing in that eye. If I just use that eye I can’t see anything because it is so blurry. I can see general shapes but can’t pick out anything, I can`t see it.

I went to my eye specialist yesterday and he told me that it is nothing that they can fix. It is caused by the mini-stroke. I am now 36 and have had no signs of a mini stroke since. Does that mean that I am not at an increased risk for a major stoke now after two years? I thought that a mini-stroke didn’t leave any permanent damage. Can mini-strokes leave permanent damage or can you explain what might have happened?

Answer:

Wow, this sounds complicated. And without examining you, I can't offer a definitive diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis. 

But here's what I can tell you......

Yes, a mini stroke can affect your eye permanently. A stroke anywhere in the body results in a lack of oxygen to tissues and cells. Depending upon how long the affected part of your body was hypoxic (lacking oxygen), tissue and cell death can be mild, moderate, or severe. The fact that you lost vision for 3 days and then regained some of it back tells me there is probably mild permanent damage remaining. 

As far as having a second stroke, that depends upon what caused the first one. Hypertension? High cholesterol? Diabetes? Smoking? Obesity? You must control the underlying cause of the mini stroke to prevent a second one, which might be much more serious.

For more information:

Go to the Eye and Vision Care health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University