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How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Your Eyes?

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Hypertension can damage vision, and your eye doctor can spot the signs even before you do

Many people don’t realize that in addition to heart disease and kidney problems, high blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for many dangerous health complications. Typically, hypertension is a chronic condition that causes harm gradually.

How does it damage vision? Our Copperas Cove, Texas, explains that in your eyes, high blood pressure commonly affects the tiny, delicate blood vessels that nourish your eye with blood. When these retinal blood vessels get damaged, you will have trouble focusing. This eye disease is called hypertensive retinopathy, and it can be sight-threatening if hypertension is left untreated.

Symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy

Usually, you won’t notice any symptoms if you have mild or moderate hypertensive retinopathy. You’ll only know you have it as a result of a comprehensive eye exam by your eye doctor. However, if your high blood pressure is more severe, you may experience headaches and problems with your vision.

Diagnosing hypertensive retinopathy

When our Copperas Cove eye doctor performs a dilated eye exam, he or she will use an ophthalmoscope, a device that projects light to inspect the back of your eye, to check for the signs of retinopathy. These signs include:

  • Spots on the retina (called cotton wool spots and exudates)
  • Narrowing of blood vessels
  • Macular swelling and inflammation of the optic nerve
  • Bleeding in the back of the eye

Other ways high blood pressure can damage your eyes

In addition to retinopathy, hypertension can lead to:

  • Choroidopathy, which is a buildup of fluid under the retina. As a result of this excess fluid, you may experience blurry or distorted vision, and sometimes scarring will occur that impairs vision.
  • Optic neuropathy, which is a form of nerve damage. When the blood flow to your eye is blocked, the optic nerve can get damaged and vision loss may occur.

Treating vision damage caused by hypertension

Treatment for all of the possible eye complications of high blood pressure, especially when the conditions are detected early, is quite simple – control your blood pressure! Visit your primary physician for treatment, which may involve changing your diet, adding exercise, losing weight, and taking medication.

To preserve your long-lasting vision and protect your eyes from the risks of high blood pressure, book regular eye exams with our caring, expert eye doctor in Copperas Cove, Texas.

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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