Q: I went for a pre-employment physical and the physician performed a neuro exam and stated I had a lazy eye.
I am 47 years old and have never been told I had this issue. My health is not the best. I have HTN and a history of schwannoma- had surgery in the past to remove them- second one was on my cervical spine with radiation after. Is this something to be worried about? I was told by a family member in the health field that this could have been a ministroke and to get checked out. What do you think?
A: With your medical history, I would recommend that you consult with a physician to determine whether you may be suffering from an underlying neurological condition.
Schwannomas are typically benign tumors that form in the tissue that surrounds and insulates nerves. Schwannomas often develop along nerves of the head and neck. Although schwannomas do not spread, they can grow large enough to press down on important structures in the brain. If you are experiencing problems with your eye and have a history of schwannoma, it is possible that you may have a new growth that is putting pressure on your optic nerve.
But, as your relative mentioned, a “lazy eye” also can be a warning sign of stroke. One of the common signals of stroke is drooping of the muscles in the face, including the muscles around the eye. (You can see examples of what this looks like on several websites, including www.strokeassociation.org and www.strokeawareness.com.) As a woman with high blood pressure, you already have two increased risk factors for stroke, so it is important to be aware of the various risk factors and symptoms of stroke so that you can effectively manage your risk and take quick action if you suspect that you may be having a stroke.
Without seeing you and getting additional information, it would be difficult to determine what may be causing your eye symptoms.
I suggest you follow up with your family physician and a neurosurgeon to rule out any additional health problems. I would be happy to offer a second opinion if needed. If you would like to make an appointment, you may do so by calling my office at 412.359.6200 or you can make an appointment online, or you can always get more information on West Penn Allegheny physicians by calling 412.DOCTORS (412.362.8677).
Best wishes for good health,
Khaled Aziz, MD
Allegheny General Hospital
Department of Neurosurgery