Eye Care

How Your Eye Health Can Be Affected by High Blood Pressure

When you suffer from high blood pressure (sometimes known as hypertension), your heart is forced to work harder to supply blood to the rest of your body, putting serious strain on your heart. High blood pressure can cause a range of health issues, including strokes, kidney problems and other heart issues. Hypertension can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Excessive salt intake
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Drinking too much alcohol also increases your risk of high blood pressure. The eyes can also be harmed by high blood pressure down the line.

High Blood Pressure or Hypertension: What Are Its Causes?

High blood pressure is a risk factor for many health problems. It is most common in men and people with a family history of hypertension. Diet and lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on this risk. For example, for each additional gram of salt consumed per day, the risk of developing hypertension rises by 2%.

Issues that high blood pressure can lead to include, but are not limited to:

  • Choroidopathy – Fluid buildup under the retina
  • Nerve damage / optic neuropathy – Damage caused by a blocked, restricted blood flow

High Blood Pressure Affects Your Eyes By Possibly Causing Hypertensive Retinopathy

Untreated high blood pressure will trigger issues with both the kidney and the heart. It will affect your vision eventually, possibly leading to eye disease. Hypertension can harm the retina’s blood vessels. Since the retina is the eye’s backside, responsible for focusing images, that brings intensive blurring.

Left untreated, hypertensive retinopathy will bring severe damage.

Hypertensive Retinopathy: The Usual Symptoms

When hypertensive retinopathy is mild to moderate, the symptoms aren’t usually evident. A doctor may prescribe more frequent visits if you have high blood pressure. Keep in mind that an eye specialist will look for various issues in your eyes, including hypertensive retinopathy.

Possible things to look out for include:

  • Blood vessel bursting
  • Double vision paired with headaches
  • Eye swelling
  • Reduced vision

Accelerated, intensive hypertension can lead to headaches and vision problems. An ophthalmoscope will be used by your eye doctor to inspect your eyeball’s back. (That’s what the instrument is for.)

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding in the back of the eye
  • Blood vessels narrowing
  • Cotton wool spots on the retina
  • Swelling of the macula
  • Swelling of the optic nerve

Prevention

Lowering blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, eating the right foods, and taking prescription medications can treat and control high blood pressure-related eye disease. Seeing your doctor regularly is also important. Preventing high blood pressure can make most cases of the disease go away. But you should still see your doctor regularly.

Good tips for controlling blood pressure include:

  • Eating a balanced, healthy diet
  • More physical activity
  • Regular visits to the eye doctor

Conclusion

High blood pressure or hypertension can seriously impact eye health. It’s usually caused by a lack of physical activity, stress and even smoking. One of the biggest issues that can come about is hypertensive retinopathy, which can be hard to detect when mild to moderate. Seeing an eye doctor is always best.

Do you need help with your vision health? Contact Vision & Eyes today! We have over 35 years of experience in optical care.

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