Middle-aged people and the elderly are more commonly at risk for an eye stroke, according to University of Pennsylvania Ophthalmology Department. Individuals with cardiovascular disease or people with certain optic disc shapes in the eyes also have increased risk for an eye stroke.
Patients with cardiovascular disease are primarily at risk for eye stroke because their blood pressure typically falls when asleep, reducing circulation through the arteries connected to the eyes, according to the University of Pennsylvania Ophthalmology Department. People who have certain optic disc shapes are also at risk because nerve fibers can become crowded if the optic foramen, a hole leading to the eye, is smaller than average. Increased risk exists because the opportunity for an occlusion increases, possibly leading to an eye stroke.
Eye strokes are caused by blood vessels with poor circulation that supply the frontal portion of the optic nerve, according to the University of Pennsylvania Ophthalmology Department. An eye stroke can also occur from a complete blockage of a blood vessel responsible for feeding the optic nerve, a perfusion of the tissue or lack of pressure. Vision loss can occur if nerve tissue is damaged or lost or if the optic nerve's oxygen and nutrient supply is blocked.