Eyes right! (and a postscript).

One of the things which surprised me about Amanda’s otherwise comprehensive treatment and rehab program was the lack of attention the hospital team seemed to give her apparent  partial loss of eyesight and hearing.

As part of her right side neglect due to her brain injury, they noted her initial obvious difficulty in seeing food on the right hand side of her plate. They also noted she had issues looking down to read.

Apart from holding a pen in front of her eyes and asking her to follow it, they did no formal eyesight testing.

So it was left to me, once she was able to get around, to take her to her optometrists (she has worn contact lenses since her teenage years), for a thorough eye exam. I mentioned that visit in a previous blog.

This week Amanda went back to the optometrists.

Although he had suggested a revisit after 3 months, I wanted to leave it longer so any improvement would be more noticeable. This time he noted that, although there seemed to be no further improvement in the optic nerve, her peripheral vision has improved, as demonstrated by the reports below.



The dark images show where her ‘blind spots’ are. There is a marked improvement between April  (left) and December (right).

As for her hearing? I suspect there is some loss as she asks me to repeat stuff a lot more since her stroke, an issue which I think is hearing related rather thnn about comprehension. I’ve also noticed the TV volume is now set a little higher than previously. But she has never complained about her hearing, so at the moment I see no need to persue it.


I haven’t tested her reading aloud capabilities for a while, and her regular support worker often notes in our communication book that Amanda has been practicing her reading. So I decided to give it a go.

I chose a page in a magazine showing an ad with large type and only four main words. She struggled with the first letter  – ‘S’. So I asked;

“What’s the first letter of the first word?”

She pointed to it.

“That one.”

Proof, once again that aphasia doesn’t mean you lose your ability to be smart, or the ability to be cunning in hiding your deficiency!


Shortly after posting this I was contacted by an audiogist who offered the following:-

I’m an audiologist Matt & want to comment that you’re possibly confusing Listening (an active, ongoing, decoding-type, brain-level activity) and sound Detection (much simpler, ‘can you notice this or not’ ) which is of course the basis for Listening, but occurs in the ear/lower brain circuits rather than higher up & it’s what I think you mean by “hearing”.) Might be wrong, but the words you used led me to think that.

Hearing loss as depicted on an audiogram (what you get if you go for ‘a hearing test’) is about recording sound detection ability, not the decoding of sounds & particularly of speech – at brain level. 
I personally don’t (yet) have any peripheral hearing loss but post-stroke I have great difficulty in background noise, largely because of my inability to multitask, plus loss of some figure/ground ability. These are cortical problems. People ALWAYS try volume increases when they’re having difficulty listening because they have learned that any improvement in signal to noise ratio helps overall.

One thought on “Eyes right! (and a postscript).

  1. Hi Matt, I just wanted to tell you how much I love and adore Amanda! Thank you SO much for blohgging her priogress, I’m a 29 year old with a now 20 month old daughter. I somehow found your blohgin Ocytober when I was in rerhab. I read the entire thing in a day – I was hooked! By then I was without a wheelchair as of October 20th. I had anxiety over walking alone and without a therapist watching me oor asking for a nurse to observe but I felt do motivated by Amanda’s progreess I went and did two laps of the ward immediately. You’ve also posted on a group I’m on on facebook. Perhaps that’s where I read about your blog.

    But thank you so much, was reading think ‘this is mme’ and she has what I have. I don’t have aphasia and I had an AVM on my cerebelllum.

    Amanda is an incredible woman and you’re both fotunate to have each other! Keep it up and well done foe bwing so amazing with Amanda, you’re a star. I’m sorry Amanda didn’t have an AVM, I think that news is easier to handle otherwise you wonder if you did something wrong I’m finally home now after 4 and a half months. 3 of which wdere rehab. Much love, regards and best wishes to Amanda.

    Please do pop along yto my bblog. you guys have inspired me so much and I often think of you both. It’d be amazxing if we kept in touch somehow 🙂

    Take care and all the best,



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