• Receptive Aphasia

    (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
    si1213 97870 1 Ischemic Stroke.jpg
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    Alexic anomia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, for example:

    Risk Factors

    Alexic anomia is more common in older people. Other factors that may increase your chance of alexic anomia include:


    Symptoms 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 Aphasia Association http://www.aphasia.org

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov


    The Aphasia Institute http://www.aphasia.ca

    Brain Injury Association of Alberta http://www.biaa.ca


    Aphasia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/aphasia/aphasia.htm. 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.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardRimas Lukas, MD
    • Review Date: 03/2017
    • Update Date: 04/30/2015
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