Sara Winges

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Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. As modern medicine improves the survival rate of cerebral vascular accidents (CVA), such as stroke, the lingering effects can be debilitating for survivors. A significant population of stroke survivors experience visual impairments and there is a lack of research regarding management and therapeutic interventions aimed at alleviating the effects of stroke-related vision loss. The objective of this study is to evaluate the scope of visual impairments following stroke, to assess various intervention methods used to treat stroke-related visual impairments, and to report their effect on quality of life and fall risk. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to extract, identify, and summarize intervention descriptions and methods from the online databases CINAHL, Sportdiscus, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Three branches of therapeutic interventions emerge from the information collected: Optical aids (OA), Compensatory therapy (CT), and Restorative Visual Training (RVT). Sudden vision loss after stroke is widely underreported and undermanaged. An encompassing set of functional and objective standards need to be developed in order to accurately screen and diagnose visual impairments. Optical aids provide a preliminary step for visual acuity correction and possibly visual field and perceptual deficits. Compensatory interventions offer the greatest amount of research in favor of objective and functional outcomes making them the modality of choice for many clinicians. Restorative interventions appear promising, particularly combined with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), but the efficacy of this intervention remains questionable.

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