Vision and senses
Stroke can affect our senses – vision, hearing, smell, touch or taste. It can also affect perception, because the stroke has affected your brain’s ability to process information from your senses. Common sensory changes after a stroke can include:
- Changes in vision – including blurred vision, double vision, or visual field loss. Visual field loss occurs when an area in your field of vision has been affected, resulting in a blind spot. A common type of visual field loss is the loss of one half of the visual field in each eye. This is called hemianopia.
- Changes in sensation – changes in your ability to feel touch, pain or temperature. You may have numbness or pins and needles in the affected area. Some people experience painful, odd or unpleasant sensations such as prickling, burning or hypersensitivity in an area. It may affect your ability to sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. This is called proprioception.
- Changes in perception – changes in your brain’s ability to process information from your senses is affected. Neglect is a common perceptual problem after stroke. Neglect is the inability to pay attention to people and things on the side of your body that is affected by your stroke. This may mean you bump into things on one side, or lack awareness of one side of your own body.
Sensory changes can improve over time and with therapy. Talk with your treating team about changes in your senses and ask about strategies that reduce the impact that your sensory changes have on your life.
Your brain can also get confused about the messages coming from your senses.
Changes in vision
You vision can be blurred.
You can see double.
You can also get blind spots in your vision.
A common type of blind spot is when you lose half of the visual field in each eye. This is called homonymous hemianopia.
Changes in feeling
You might notice changes to the way you feel touch, pain or temperature.
This can be numbness or pins and needles.
Or it might be painful or unpleasant feelings such as prickling, burning or hypersensitivity in an area.
You can also have trouble knowing how your body parts relate to each other.
This is called proprioception.
Changes in perception
Sometimes your brain gets confused about the messages coming from your senses.
You might not be able to pay attention to things on one side of your body.
This is called neglect.
These changes can improve over time and with treatment.
Talk to your general practitioner or treating team about changes in your senses.
Ask about strategies that can help you.