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Services to the Acute, Rehabilitation and Community Stroke Teams

A patient undergoes a stroke assessment with an OrthoptistVisual complications following stroke is a common occurrence with potentially devastating effects to the patient and their family.

The incidence of visual complications is above 50% (Rowe et al 2007, McKay 2004, MacIntosh 2003, Freeman 2002, Clisby 1995, Freeman and Rudge 1988). The severity of visual dysfunction can vary and patients may have an isolated ocular condition or a combination of defects.
 
As the incidence of stroke rapidly increases over the age of 70 many of the elderly patients will have pre-existing ocular co-morbidities which when combined with neurological visual impairment, will be much more devastating. The incidence of stroke rapidly increases over the age of 70 and 22.6% of patients have significant pre-existing visual co- morbidity with condition (MacDiarmid 2007).

Jones and Shinton (2006) recommend that links between stroke and Orthoptic departments should be established in all units.

Orthoptists are experts in the diagnosis and management of disorders of eye movement, vision and binocular vision, visual neglect and visual field defects.

Service provided to the Stroke Unit

All referred patients will have an Orthoptic assessment as soon as possible during their acute phase. Patients who are not identified during this phase should still be referred as soon as a visual complication is suspected or in cases where a patient is not reaching their rehabilitation with no identified reason.
 
Patients will have treatment if appropriate, advice for any visual complication, onward referral if necessary to Ophthalmology, Low vision, Optometry services and Sensory Support teams. The rehabilitation team will be fully informed of any visual complications and the effect this may have on the functional ability of the patient. The patient will be advised with regards to driving and the family/carers will be informed of any visual complications.

Patients will then be followed up if necessary on the stroke rehabilitation ward, in the community setting or as an Out-patient in Orthoptics/Ophthalmology. 

The Orthoptic Department are happy to receive referrals from any Health Professional.  To speak to an Orthoptist for advice please contact 01942 822310

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