What is Hemianopia?

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  • Written By: C. Martin
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Hemianopia is a vision defect where half of the field of vision of the eye is affected by blindness or reduced vision. One eye or both may be affected by this partial blindness. The condition is usually caused by damage to the nervous pathways in the brain that control vision. Optical pathway damage causing this type of visual impairment may be caused by physical damage to the brain, strokes, or brain tumors.

In optometry, the field of vision in each eye is considered to have two halves, the temporal half and the nasal half. If the visual field of the eye is considered to be vertically divided into two halves, then the temporal half of the field of vision is the outer half. The nasal half of the field of vision is the inner half.

Where both eyes are affected, there are two main variations of hemianopic disorders. In the homonymous variant of this disorder, the patient’s vision is affected in the opposite half of each eye, so that the nasal half is affected in one eye, and the temporal half in the other. In the heteronymous variation, vision is impaired in either the nasal sides of both eyes, known as binasal hemianopia, or the temporal sides of both eyes, which is termed bitemporal hemianopia.


Hemianopia causes are usually serious brain problems such as strokes caused by brain hemorrhages, lesions of the optical pathways, or brain tumors pressing against the optical nerves. There are other causes that are less serious, however, and these may result in only temporary loss of vision. Some migraine sufferers may endure temporary bouts of hemianopia, either during a migraine episode, or immediately prior to a migraine. It may also occur temporarily in some patients that experience a transient episode of very high blood pressure, such as may occur in eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy.

Depending on the root cause, hemianopia may recede spontaneously, as sometimes occurs in stroke patients. If it persists for more than six months in such patients, however, then it is likely to be a permanent condition. Treatment may include rehabilitation training to assist sufferers in adapting to their limited vision. If such training is successful, then sufferers may even be able to drive. Sometimes, specially designed glasses are a successful way of ameliorating the condition. These kinds of glasses may use prisms or mirrors to expand the visual field of the wearer.


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Post 3

@gardenturtle- I completely agree with "cellmania". Do not give up hope and try to keep your aunt positive about her outcome.

I have a son with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa). That basically means that he cannot see at night. He also experiences severe tunnel vision. He as attended Alabama School for the Blind since he was three years old. It is heartbreaking to know that his condition is permanent and degenerative. However, I never give up hope.

He graduated two years ago and is now in college and works part-time. I am always researching the web and any other resources for new information. I recently learned that they have now found a possible procedure that might help regain some of an RP patient's vision.

I am certainly not getting my hopes up but I am also not giving up the idea that he may one day get better. Stay positive and be persistent about any new procedures that could help.

Post 2

@gardenturtle- Do not lose hope! It may sometimes seem hopeless but medical technology has come a long way. There was a survey done that was called the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey” that stated 1 in 1000 people that were examined had hemianopia. It also stated that chances of recovery are very hopeful.

Apparently, there is a company called NovaVision that is currently marketing Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT). I read an article about it and it says that they can perform some kind of noninvasive therapy to improve visual functions. It is aimed towards patients like your aunt, who have had strokes or other type of brain trauma.

You could probably look them up on the web and get some more info.

Post 1

My aunt had a stroke seven months ago. From the stroke, she developed hemianopia. She couldn’t see anything at all out of her right eye. Her doctor told her that there was a chance that it would clear up.

She has always been a busybody. She stayed on the road all the time and loved to travel. Now, she can’t drive and is devastated. It’s been eight months and she has almost given up hope. What kind of therapy or options are available to possibly correct this condition?

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