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What’s an ocular stroke?

We had a case of ocular stroke in our office just yesterday.

Someone in her early 60s came in just for a routine eye exam, but during a check of her retina, our doctor found out that she had suffered an ocular stroke.

The back of her left eye was bleeding on the top half. Her retinal vein was blocked and started to crack, leaking out blood.

Her vision was not too bad, down to 20/30 from 20/20, a reduction of ⅓, but may get worse as it works its course.

With a more detailed case history the doctor found that she didn’t have a history of high blood pressure or diabetes, and she wasn’t on medications that increase her susceptibility. There weren’t any clues without an exam from the doctor.

Ocular strokes are serious. They occur when the blood vessels of the eye are blocked and end up leaking blood.

In some cases, they can lead to large blood vessels being affected, and a loss of more than half of the vision. In rare cases, as the retina is crying for oxygen, the eye may grow more irregular and immature blood vessels. These blood vessels can in turn result in glaucoma, affect the whole eye, and lead to complete vision loss.

How do we prevent them from happening?

It’s good to do a physical exam yearly if possible.

It can be prevented by getting an eye exam every year so your retinal blood vessels are monitored.

Please don’t wait until you are 60 to do it, do it yearly for your retina, as there is no pain when it is injured, such as this patient. There is also no pain if there’s a tumor growing behind the retina. In our office, children check their eyes once a year too, just as with adults.

During lock down, healthcare providers such as Ontario Optometrist are still open as your first line of health defence.

Dr. Yan Ling Liang, OD

Markham Optometrist


(some personal information is changed here for personal privacy)


Our office will be closed from the 18th until the end of the week. The office will resume as usual on Tuesday.