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Stroke

Mini stroke

07/06/2007

Question:

All of a sudden I lost vision in my left eye. I went to my eye surgeon and had checked my eyes and told me that there was nothing wrong with my eyes. That the only thing that he can think of that would cause it is a mini stroke. I have high blood pressure that has been 130/80 for about 6 monhts. I also taking medications for rheumatiod arthritis. I am only 33 years old and never smoked in my life. What is the relationship between the mini stroke and the lost of vision? What could have caused this at such a young age?

Answer:

From the way you described the events, I'm not sure I can give you a definitive answer to your question.  There are two ways to lose vision from a stroke.  The first would be to have the blood vessel blocked which supplies the back of the eye.  This typically involves vision loss in one eye--no vision from the affected eye, but perfectly intact vision in the other eye.  The second way is from a stroke that involves the part of the brain that serves vision.  If this happens, the typical pattern of visual loss is to lose part of vision in both eyes (for example, you can't see the left half of the world from either eye).  A stroke occurs when a blood vessel gets blocked, and the tissue fed by that vessel is irreversibly damaged.  A mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack, occurs when the vessel gets blocked transiently but then re-opens without permanent damage.  This may be what happened to you if there is no lasting visual loss.

If a stroke is suspected, then you should work with your primary care physician or a neurologist to ensure that there is not an identified cause for the stroke (including imaging of the blood vessels supplying the eye and brain, as well as an echocardiogram to ensure there isn't a cardiac cause). 

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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