TAMPA, Fla. — May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Doctors want people to know the signs of a stroke and get immediate help if you experience them.
It started as a typical day for Alfred Nicolosi.
“I sat down, and all of a sudden what happened is I started to see multiple colors going across my eyes,” Nicolosi said.
He knew something wasn’t right.
“Everything went blank on that eye on the way to the hospital,” Nicolosi said.
When Nicolosi arrived at the ER, physicians at AdventHealth Tampa were able to use retinal ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t a brain hemorrhage, but instead found he was having a stroke of the eye.
“We applied tPA, which is a clot buster that we can give in the first four and a half hour of an acute stroke to dissolve the clot,” said AdventHealth Tampa neurologist Dr. Karl Kasischke said.
“They monitored me all night, and during the night somewhere around 3 a.m., I started seeing shadows. I could start seeing outlines of people, and it continued to get better,” Nicolosi said. “They found that my carotid artery was 70% blocked, so they believe that it came from this point, and it lodged itself in the back of my eye.”
Doctors want you to get help if you see signs of a stroke.
“A stroke to the eye is very simple,” Dr. Kasischke said. “The patient typically sits there, and suddenly either loses his vision or perceives very bizarre color changes, like a kaleidoscope.”
In general, stroke symptoms may include trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying and paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg.
Today, Nicolosi said his eye is around 75% to 80%, and he explained that he’s thankful beyond words.
“I am so grateful I don’t think I could say it in a short sentence,” he said. “I say thank you to them doctors, and I say thank you to that hospital. They did more for me than I would’ve ever expected.”