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Split Vision

What it might mean: Possible warning sign of stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, cutting off blood supply to the brain. Strokes kill over 5 million people worldwide each year, and 1 occurs every 40 seconds in the United States alone.

Strokes can cause many different symptoms, including slurred speech or difficulty walking. Experiencing "split vision" in each eye—a lesser know symptom—can also occur. In this case, you have only half of a field of vision in each eye. For instance, if you were looking at a stop sign, you may only see the O and the P, while the S and T remain invisible.

This occurrence may last for only several minutes until vision is restored, but it still indicates that the visual cortex in the back of the brain has been impacted by loss of blood flow. A CT scan or MRI would reveal that this part of the brain controlling your vision experienced a cut off in its blood supply. Mini strokes may present themselves this way and are often a precursor to a major stroke.

One of the most important things to do if you think you're having a stroke is to remember the acronym' ' F-A-S-T—and also act fast!

F: Face
  • Vision disturbance
  • Uneven smile
  • Facial droop/numbness

    A: Arms & Legs
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty walking' '

    S: Speech
  • Slurred
  • Inappropriate words
  • Mute

    T: Time
  • Time is critical
  • Call 911

    Unfortunately, not all hospitals are well equipped to handle stroke victims. Do your homework in advance and find a stroke center near you. Visit StrokeCenter.org for more information.

    To help reduce your risk of stroke, research shows that a diet chockfull of fruits and vegetables with white flesh can help. Try mushrooms, cauliflower and white peaches. In addition, taking 2 low-dose 81mg aspirin once a day before bedtime may help reduce your chance of developing blood clots. (Of course, talk to your doctor first).
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