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Dr. Julie Steinhauer Reveals How Hypertension and Stroke Impact Vision

Dr. Julie Steinhauer Reveals How Hypertension and Stroke Impact Vision

Dr. Julie Steinhauer

Glen Carbon, IL – February 9, 2021 – Dr. Julie Steinhauer, OD, FCOVD, owner of Vision For Life, and one of a select group of functional vision doctors in the nation, says those with hypertension, known as high blood pressure, may often suffer from undiagnosed vision issues. Left unchecked hypertension can cause blurriness, double vision, or a complete loss in one part of the visual field.  

Severe hypertension can restrict blood and oxygen to the brain causing an artery to either be blocked or burst. It can induce a stroke, lead to heart and kidney issues, and potentially eye disease.

Those who suffer from hypertension, and their families, should be aware of symptoms of a stroke. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, these can include sudden numbness or weakness of the face; weakness in the arm or leg especially on one side of the body; confusion and trouble speaking or understanding speech; issues with walking, dizziness, loss of balance and coordination; and problems seeing in one or both eyes.

Dr. Steinhauer, in her YouTube video How Hypertension Or Stroke Affects Your Vision, said a stroke will often damage a visual pathway causing a loss in the vision field. “Eyesight becomes altered. Some may have significant loss of vision, blurriness, or a blind spot. In many cases, the individual doesn’t even realize they have suffered a vision loss after the stroke has occurred.”

According to Steinhauer, family members should be aware of these symptoms if they see a loved one acting differently, especially following a stroke diagnosis. “They may have blurred vision while watching TV, or what we call ‘visual neglect’ where the individual ignores stimuli on either the left or right side. Other symptoms include problems when reading, and bumping into objects while walking.”

A thorough diagnosis can reveal any eye damage that has occurred as a result of a stroke and best course of treatment. “In many cases the eye-brain connection can be retrained using a light therapy called Syntonics. This helps ignite the neurons in the brain that were turned ‘off’ as a result of the stroke. The patient can gain back some of the normal visual field. An eye doctor can properly evaluate and diagnose vision loss, no matter the age of the patient.”

Dr. Steinhauer said functional vision therapy helps to regain 30% to 80% of a stroke patient’s vision loss. Timing is important because the quicker therapy begins post-stroke the better the chances for more visual recovery.

“The goal is to let people know that they can regain their vision due to severe hypertension or after a stroke. Utilizing proper therapy we can help improve their ability to read, write, and work, and enjoy life to its fullest.”

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Dr. Steinhauer, now in her 20th year of practice, is a developmental optometrist specializing in vision-related learning problems, sports vision, and rehabilitative optometry. She is board certified in vision development as a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Dr. Steinhauer is a member of the Illinois Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Optometric Extension Program, the College of Syntonic Optometry, and the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.


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