An occipital stroke develops once the occipital lobes of the brain are impaired due to the diminished supply of oxygenated blood. In most cases, a stroke is often caused by issues with the flow of blood in the brain such as a ruptured or clogged artery. If there is damage to the occipital lobes, it can result to vision problems that vary depending on the severity of the stroke.
What is the impact of an occipital stroke?
Always bear in mind that the occipital lobe is a component of the cortex positioned in the rear part of the brain. It functions as a storage center for visual information. This lobe stores information from the nerves in the eye for future reference such as allowing us to recognize shapes, colors and faces by comparison of what is seen to what is stored in the lobes. Take note that this helps with the recognition of objects as well as assisting with the interpretation of what happens in the surroundings. If the occipital lobe is impaired, it results to the disruption of visual processing.
Recognition of objects
An occipital stroke can result to various visual issues depending on the severity and the exact location in the occipital lobe. It is important to note that the front region of the lobe is responsible for recognition of objects.
If there is damage to this region, it can cause the individual to have difficulty with categorizing what they see. An individual may look at a pencil and be able to describe it, but might not be able to say what it is or how it is used. In addition, this area also helps recognize familiar faces. An individual with damage to the frontal occipital lobe might not recognize a family member until he/she hears them speak.
Always bear in mind that there is a precise type of blindness that is linked with damage to the occipital lobe which is known as cortical blindness. This occurs once both sides of the occipital lobe have been damaged such as after a stroke.
Unlike with most forms of blindness, cortical blindness can affect the capability of the individual to interpret anything in his/her surroundings. The eye function is still intact but the processing is impaired. In some individuals, they might not be aware that they are blind.
Functionality after an occipital stroke
It is good to note that an occipital stroke does not always lead to physical disabilities unless the stroke occurs in more than one region of the brain. It is sad to note that any damage to the visual processing system can still cause difficulties in functioning during daily routines.
After an occipital stroke, the individual might have difficulty while performing simple tasks such as getting dressed or cooking and might be required to learn these routines in a different manner. In addition, the individual might be unable to drive depending on the degree of the visual problems.
Recovery from stroke
Always bear in mind that occupational therapy can help an individual compensate for any visual deficits right after an occipital stroke. In addition, as the brain recovers from the initial damage, it is possible for some function to return. After a stroke, other regions of the brain might take over for those that were impaired. Nevertheless, it is hard to determine whether or not this can occur in any given cause.