July 2010


Visual field defects after stroke

A practical guide for GPs

Volume 39, No.7, July 2010 Pages 499-503

Susie Luu

Andrew W Lee

Andrew Daly

Celia S Chen


Visual field defect after stroke can result in significant disability and reduction in quality of life. Visual rehabilitation aims to maximise the residual vision and decrease functional disability. Understanding the rehabilitation options available, and where to refer patients with visual defects after a stroke, can help patients, and their families, in the rehabilitation process.


This article provides a review of the functional disability from visual field loss and discusses the various forms of visual rehabilitation.


Optical therapy, eye movement therapy and visual field restitution are the rehabilitation therapies currently available. Rehabilitation needs to cater to each patient’s specific needs. Any patient recognised as having a visual field defect after stroke needs prompt referral for further assessment and consideration for visual rehabilitation.

Stroke is the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer, with 48 000 new cases each year.1 More than three out of four stroke sufferers report some form of disability, of which visual impairment is becoming more recognised. Approximately 16% of these have a homonymous visual field defect poststroke.2

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