Stroke survivor and caregiver perspectives on post-stroke visual concerns and long-term consequences
Approximately 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke annually. Up to two thirds of stroke survivors have some visual problems, which result in disability and can affect survivors’ overall rehabilitation outcomes. Although some post-stroke visual impairments can be corrected and respond well to intervention, ocular signs can be subtle and may not be recognized or reported by the stroke survivor but rather by a vigilant caregiver. The purpose of this study was to explore the post-stroke visual concerns and consequences expressed by stroke survivors and caregivers. This study employed a qualitative design using semistructured interviews conducted with a convenience sample of stroke survivors and caregivers recruited from either a community support group or skilled nursing and long-term care facilities. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Comparative content analysis was used to identify vision-related themes by two independent coders. All research team members completed quality checking of coding. Twenty participants (11 stroke survivors and 9 caregivers) expressed visual concerns or consequences following stroke: (1) eye movement problems, (2) perceptual issues, and (3) consequences of vision problems or issues, which affected their daily life/quality of life. Stroke survivors and caregivers reported receiving vision care from (1) eye doctors, (2) occupational therapists, and (3) other healthcare professionals. All vision care providers need to be observant of potential post-stroke visual concerns. Stroke survivors should have a thorough vision evaluation to optimize their independence in everyday activities and quality of life.