(Alexia; Alexic Anomia; Word Blindness; Text Blindness; Visual Aphasia)
Alexic anomia happens when you lose your ability to understand written words. You can no longer read and name words. This is a type of receptive aphasia, which is a language disorder that involves difficulty understanding spoken or written language. It is caused by the brain not functioning correctly. This is a serious condition that may change over time, depending on the cause.
Stroke—Most Common Cause of Alexic Anomia
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Alexic anomia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, for example:
Alexic anomia is more common in older people. Other factors that may increase your chance of alexic anomia include:
- Inability to read with understanding
- Ability to write, but not read what you have written
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A neurological examination and tests may also be done to check brain function.
Imaging tests are used to evaluate the brain and other structures. These may include:
You may be referred to a neurologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
- Speech-language therapy—to help you use your ability to communicate, regain lost abilities, learn to make up for language problems, and learn other methods to communicate
- Counseling —to help you cope with your condition and help your family learn how to communicate with you
- Individualized rehabilitation program—to focus on what caused your condition
Since stroke is a common cause of aphasia, follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit salt and fat in your diet.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to successfully quit.
- If you drink, do so in moderation. Moderation is 2 or less drinks per day for men and 1 or less drinks per day for women.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Control your blood pressure.
- Ask your doctor if you should take low-dose aspirin.
- Properly treat and control chronic conditions, like diabetes.
If you have signs of a stroke, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Brain Injury Association of Alberta http://www.biaa.ca/
Updated September 2, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.
Aphasia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at:
Updated July 9, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.
Cherny LR. Aphasia, alexia, and oral reading. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2004;11:22-36.
Freedman L, Selchen DH, et al. Posterior cortical dementia with alexia: neurobehavioural, MRI, and PET findings. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1991;54;443-448.
Last Updated: 4/30/2015