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Receptive Aphasia

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Receptive Aphasia

(Wernicke Aphasia; Alexia; Alexic Anomia; Word Blindness; Text Blindness; Visual Aphasia)


Receptive aphasia is a language disorder that makes it hard for a person to understand spoken or written language. This fact sheet focuses on alexic anomia. With alexic anomia a person can no longer read and name words.

Stroke—Most Common Cause of Alexic Anomia.

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Alexic anomia is caused by a brain injury. Stroke is the most common cause of the injury. Some other causes are:

Risk Factors

Alexic anomia is more common in older adults. It is also more common in people who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.


A person with alexic anomia:

  • Cannot understand written words
  • Can write, but cannot read what someone has written


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Speech, language, and communication tests may be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. A doctor who treats the nervous system may also need to be seen.

Other tests may be done to find the cause of the alexic anomia.


The goal of treatment is to help a person be able to understand written words again. The cause of alexic anomia will need to be treated.

Speech and language therapy will also be needed to:

  • Restore lost skills
  • Learn how to use existing skills
  • Learn other ways to communicate


There are no guidelines to prevent alexic anomia. It is caused by underlying health problems.





  • Aphasia. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/aphasia.
  • Aphasia due to cerebrovascular disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/aphasia-due-to-cerebrovascular-disease-1.
  • Cherny, L.R. Aphasia, alexia, and oral reading. Top Stroke Rehabil, 2004; 11: 22-36.


  • Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.