By Dr. Ruchi, Ophthalmology
The consequences of not treating high blood pressure are not limited to only the kidneys and heart. It also affects eyesight and in turn, causes eye disease. Retinal blood vessels are damaged due to hypertension.
High blood pressure is a chronic condition where the force of the blood which flows against the arteries is very high. When the blood navigates through the body at a higher pressure, it causes the arteries to stretch and this results in damage. Let’s read more…
Damage to our Eyes-
Tiny, delicate blood vessels supply blood to your eyes. Like other vessels, they, too, can be damaged by high blood pressure:
- Eye Blood Vessel Damage (Retinopathy): High blood pressure can damage the vessels supplying blood to your retina, causing retinopathy. This condition can lead to bleeding in the eye, blurred vision and complete loss of vision. If you also have both diabetes and high blood pressure, you’re at even greater risk.
- Fluid Buildup Under the Retina (Choroidopathy): In this condition, fluid builds up under your retina because of a leaky blood vessel in a layer of blood vessels located under the retina. Choroidopathy (kor-oid-OP-uh-thee) can result in distorted vision or in some cases scarring that impairs vision.
- Nerve Damage (Optic Neuropathy): This is a condition in which blocked blood flow damages the optic nerve. It can kill nerve cells in your eyes, which may cause bleeding within your eye or vision loss.
Symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy are not typically experienced by the person during normal circumstances. It is commonly discovered during routine eye exams. However, certain common symptoms include problems in vision, swelling of the eyes and headaches.
Treatment of hypertensive retinopathy involves lowering and controlling high blood pressure using a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. If the condition is serious, irreversible damage to the eye might be caused which could lead to vision problems that are permanent.
1. Medications: The physician might prescribe medicines like beta blockers, diuretics or ACE inhibitors, to control blood pressure.
2. Lifestyle Changes: An improved diet consisting of large varieties of vegetables and fruits might help lower blood pressure. Reducing the intake of salt, regular physical activity and reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine consumption aid in maintaining healthy blood pressure.