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What is an Eye Stroke and How You Can Prevent It

If you thought that strokes only involve the brain, think again. There is a medical condition called an “eye stroke,” and it is potentially serious. We’re not kidding. Read on to know the ins and outs of this condition and the ways to lower your chances of developing this debilitating condition. Your intellect will thank you by the time you reach the end of this article!

What is an Eye Stroke?

Besides the brain, a stroke can also occur in the eyes. Such a stroke is known as retinal artery occlusion.

Blood vessels carry oxygen and other important nutrients to all parts of the body. When these blood vessels become narrow or get blocked due to a blood clot, the supply of blood is cut off. The affected region can suffer severe damage, which is called a stroke .

When it comes to an eye stroke, the blockage involves the retina of your eye, which is a thin film that effectively lines the back of your eye’s inner surface. The retina is also responsible for sending light signals to your brain so that you can accurately interpret what your eyes see .

When there is a blockage in the retinal veins, fluids leak into the retina. This results in swelling, which prevents the circulation of oxygen, thus impacting your ability to see .

There are 4 major types of eye stroke: (1) An obstruction occurring in your primary retinal vein is called Central Retinal Vein Occlusion or (CRVO) (2) When the obstruction of blood flow involves one of your smaller branch veins, it is called a Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion or (BRVO). (3) Alternatively, when the blockage involves your central retinal artery, it is called Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO) and (4) When the blockage involves the branch arteries, it is known as Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion (BRAO) .

Now that you know what an eye stroke is, you would surely want to know more about it. Therefore, read on and be enlightened about this condition.


Symptoms of eye stroke can come all of a sudden or they may develop gradually over several hours or days. Symptoms occurring in a single eye is the best indicator of retinal stroke. Some of the most common symptoms are mentioned below .

  • Eye Floaters: Floaters appear as tiny grey spots “floating” in your field of vision.
  • Eye pain or High Pressure in the Eye: Generally, eye strokes are painless; however, pain may be caused in some cases.
  • Blurry vision: This symptom may gradually worsen in a particular section of the eye or the whole eye.
  • Complete Loss of Vision: This may occur suddenly or in a gradual manner .

If you develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If not treated on time, eye strokes can lead to permanent loss of vision. Therefore, be careful .

Risk Factors

Everyone can be vulnerable to an eye stroke. That said, some risk factors increase its likelihood. For instance, you are more likely to have an eye stroke as you age. In addition, men are more likely to develop this condition in comparison with women .

Some medical conditions increase your risks of developing an eye stroke:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glaucoma
  • Problems affecting blood flow, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Narrowing of the carotid or neck artery
  • Rare blood disorder

What’s worse, smoking can increase your risks of developing all forms of stroke. Hence, if you smoke, you need to quit, cold turkey .

Preventing Eye Strokes

You may not be able to prevent any eye stroke always, but there are certain actions you can undertake to drastically lower your chances of developing this condition.

  • Effective Management of Diabetes: Make sure your blood sugar levels are always in the normal range to avoid complications.
  • Obtain Treatment for Glaucoma: Glaucoma increases eye pressure, resulting in greater risk of eye strokes. Medicines can help in keeping your eye pressure under control.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly: High blood pressure ups the risk of all types of strokes. Changes to your lifestyle can make a high difference. Medications, too, can help.
  • Maintain Normal Cholesterol Levels: Consuming the right foods and exercising regularly can lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Do Not Smoke: If you smoke, stop it as soon as possible.

With this, we complete the write-up on eye stroke and its preventive measures. Now, you are armed with all the knowledge pertaining to eye stroke. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!

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