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Rehabilitation and recovery – sensory effects of stroke

4.46 Introduction

A stroke can result in changes to any of the senses, including touch, vision, hearing, taste and smell. Little trial evidence exists regarding taste and smell, but evidence for cha...

4.47 Sensation

Sensory loss after stroke is a recognised impairment. Reported prevalence rates vary, with some estimating that up to 80% of people have loss or alteration in various somatic sensa...


People with stroke should be screened for altered sensation and if present, assessed for sensory impairments using standardised measures. [2016]


People with sensory loss after stroke should be trained in how to avoid injury to the affected body parts. [2016]

Sources, evidence to recommendations, implications

4.48 Vision

Visual problems after stroke are common. In a multicentre prospective cohort study, 58% of people with stroke were found to have visual problems and about half of them, regardless ...


People with stroke should be screened for visual changes by a professional with appropriate knowledge and skills, using a standardised approach. [2023]


People with stroke should be:

  • assessed for visual acuity whilst wearing their usual glasses or contact lenses to check their ability to read newspaper text and see distant objects clearly;
  • examined for the presence of visual field deficit (e.g. hemianopia) and eye movement disorders (e.g. strabismus and motility deficit);
  • assessed using adapted visual tests for those with communication impairment. [2023]

People with altered vision, visual field defects or eye movement disorders after stroke should receive information, support and advice from an orthoptist and/or an ophthalmologist. [2023]


People reporting visual disturbance following stroke should be assessed by an occupational therapist to assess its impact on their ability to carry out functional tasks independently, their confidence and safety. [2023]


People with visual loss due to retinal artery occlusion should be jointly managed by an ophthalmologist and a stroke physician. [2023]


Multidisciplinary treatment programmes should be developed with an orthoptist and should include restorative and compensatory approaches to maximise safety and independence, in accordance with the person’s presentation, goals and preferences. For people with visual field loss due to stroke, compensation training such as visual scanning or visual search training should be considered. [2023]


People with visual deficits following stroke should be advised about driving restrictions and receive accessible written information regarding the process of assessment and decision making. [2023]

Sources, evidence to recommendations, implications