Munson Health
 
Hemianopsia

Back to Document

by Kerr SJ

(Hemianopia; Hemiopia; Bitemporal Hemianopsia; Homonymous Hemianopsia; Left Homonymous Hemianopsia; Right Homonymous Hemianopsia; Superior Hemianopsia; Inferior Hemianopsia)

 

Causes

Hemianopsia is caused by conditions that affect the brain or optic nerves.
The most common causes are:
Other less common causes that have been reported include:
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Infections
  • Toxin exposures
  • Transient events, such as seizures or migraines
The Optic Nerve
IMAGE
An injury or illness that puts pressure on the optic nerve can cause hemianopsia.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
 

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment focuses on treating the underlying condition and learning to live with your hemianopsia in daily life. Your hemianopsia may improve over time, depending on the cause. Treatment options include the following:

Visual Aids

These may be used to help increase your visual field. They must be fitted by an eye care professional. Prisms may be attached to glasses. A prism is a clear plastic sheet that fits the lenses of your glasses. You may have a permanent prism mounted into the lens. It shifts the location of an image so that it is within your field of vision. You will be trained on how to use the prism to make up for your visual field defect. Mirrors or inverted telescopes can also be used to increase your visual field.

Reading Strategies

You may be taught strategies that will make reading easier. Reading can be difficult if you have hemianopsia because you may have trouble finding the beginning or end of a word or line of text.
You may want to use a ruler or sticky note to mark the beginning or end of the text. For example, if you have right homonymous hemianopsia, use a sticky note to mark the end of a line of text. You will know that you have not reached the end of the line until you see the sticky note.
Some people with hemianopsia benefit from turning a text and reading it vertically (up and down), rather than horizontally (side to side).

Lifestyle Changes

Other changes can help you deal with hemianopsia in daily life:
  • Make frequent head turns a habit. This will help you capture things outside your field of vision.
  • When walking with others, place them on the affected side. For example, if you have a left homonymous hemianopsia, they should stay on your left side. This will prevent you from bumping into objects outside of your field of vision.
  • In a theater, sit toward the affected side (eg, on the right if you have right homonymous hemianopsia). That way, more of the action will be within your field of vision.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether you can drive. Some rehabilitation centers have driving simulators that measure your ability to drive safely.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Ophthalmology
http://www.aao.org/

Lighthouse International
http://www.lighthouse.org/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.eyesite.ca/

Canadian Stroke Network
http://www.canadianstrokenetwork.ca/

 

References


Bashir K, Elble RJ, Ghobrial M, et al. Hemianopsia in dementia with lewy bodies. Arch Neurol . 1998 Aug;55(8):1132-5.


Bitemporal hemianopsia. Saint John’s Health Center: Brain Tumor Center website. Available at: http://www.brain-tumor.org/124%5FBitemporal%5FHemianopsia.html . Accessed June 9, 2011.


Hemianopsia. Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website. Available at: http://www.tsbvi.edu/instructional-resources/986-hemianopsia . Updated February 2010. Accessed June 9, 2011.


Homonymous hemianopia. North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. Available at: http://www.nanosweb.org/files/public/Homonymous%5Fhemianopia.pdf . Accessed June 9, 2011.


Kedar S, Zhang X, Lynn MJ. Pediatric homonymous hemianopia. J AAPOS . 2006 Jun;10(3):249-52.


Mitchell JP, Yancy A, Louis LS, et al. Reversible hyperglycemic homonymous hemianopia. J Natl Med Assoc . 2009 Apr;101(4):373-6.


One-side neglect: improving awareness to speed recovery. American Heart and Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/LifeAfterStroke/RegainingIndependence/EmotionalBehavioralChallenges/One-side-Neglect-Improving-Awareness-to-Speed-Recovery%5FUCM%5F309735%5FArticle.jsp . Accessed June 9, 2011.


Seeing after stroke: vision changes are common, some are reversible. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SS%5FMAG%5Fsp2010%5Frehab . Accessed June 9, 2011.


Stroke related eye conditions. Royal National Institute of Blind People website. Available at: http://www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/eyeconditionsoz/Pages/stroke.aspx . Updated May 2011. Accessed June 9, 2011.


What is hemianopia? Lighthouse international website. Available at: http://www.lighthouse.org/about-low-vision-blindness/vision-disorders/hemianopia/ . Accessed June 9, 2011.

 

Revision Information