Hemianopia and How It Can Affect You

Hemianopia can cause sight loss and have a significant impact in a person's lifestyle. It can be the result of different factors and in this article we'll look at some basic information about this condition.

What Is Hemianopia?

Hemianopia is a condition which results in a partial loss of sight in half of your visual field. Its severity and the other symptoms you experience can vary widely, depending on the seriousness of the condition and its causes.

This condition can affect either one or both of your eyes. When both eyes suffer from hemianopia, the degree of sight loss can be the same or different in each eye.

This condition, however, does not mean that there is something directly wrong with your eyes. Instead, it's caused by damage in the brain or the optic nerve. This damage impairs the ability of the brain or the optic nerve to relay or process properly the images received from the eye.

What Are the Causes of Hemianopia?

Hemianopia is often the result of other conditions which affect the vision processing parts of the brain or the optic nerve. It could also occur due to trauma, which results in damaging those areas of the brain.

Some of these causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Strokes
  • Infections
  • Tumours
  • Aneurysms
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis

A number of those conditions can be prevented to a degree by having a healthy lifestyle; eating healthier food and giving up smoking and drinking alcohol. 

What Are the Symptoms of Hemianopia?

Missing half of your visual field can be one of the signs that you suffer from hemianopia. This, however, is hardly the only symptom that you may experience. Others could be:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision

How Do You Treat Hemianopia?

There are no specific treatments which can help improve your eyesight after suffering hemianopia. In some instances the condition can get better over time, normally within the first or second week, but there is also the possibility that the impairment will remain permanent.

Treatment will usually depend on what caused the condition and your doctor will be able to offer various approaches to treating and improving your vision. 

With rehabilitation, it is sometimes possible to partially restore the sight you've lost. Vision restoration therapy, for example, might help you improve your visual information processing.

In Conclusion

People who experience loss of sight due to hemianopia might find it difficult to carry out diverse tasks, such as reading and driving; so making some adjustments in their daily life will prove beneficial.

Using magnifiers and other low vision aids can be useful and help you make the most of your remaining vision. Some have been specially designed for people who have hemianopia, like hemianopic spectacles or prisms, even though they have not found a wide application yet. These are meant to improve vision by reflecting light towards the working part of the vision field. 

If one of your loved ones has hemianopia, you should be aware that the condition can impact their life significantly. Supporting them and being by their side while they adapt to their new lifestyle might be one of the best ways to help them.