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Your Healthy Family: Signs of a stroke in the eye

Posted at 9:36 AM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 09:36:47-04

TAMPA, Fla. — May is Stroke Awareness Month, and doctors want you to know the warning signs of a stroke.

Alfred Nicolosi, 78, said he was having a typical day.

"Then I started to see multiple colors going across my eyes," he said. “Everything went blank on that eye on the way to the hospital."

Doctors were able to use retinal ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t a brain hemorrhage. Instead, a stroke neurologist said Nicolosi was having a stroke of the eye.

"We applied TPA, which is a clot buster, which we can give in the first four and a half hours of an acute stroke to dissolve the clot," Dr. Karl Kasischke, a Stroke Neurologist at AdventHealth Tampa, said.

“I started seeing shadows. I could start seeing outlines of people, and it continued to get better," Nicolosi said. "They found that my carotid artery was 70 percent blocked, so they believe it lodged itself in the back of my eye.”

Doctors want you to get help if you see signs of a stroke.

“A stroke to the eye is very simple. The patient typically sits there and suddenly either loses his vision or perceives very bizarre color changes, like a kaleidoscope," Dr. Kasischke said.

In general, stroke symptoms may include trouble speaking and paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg.

Nicolosi said his eye has recovered around 75 to 80 percent.

"I am so grateful I don’t think I could say it in a short sentence," he said.

Dr. Kasischke aid we typically consider a stroke something that only happens to older people, but he's seen people in their 40s, 30s, and even 20s come in with a stroke.