The retina is the thin layer of tissue at the back of your eye. It converts the light rays that enter your eyes into nerve signals, which the optic nerve sends to the brain for interpretation. Prolonged high blood pressure, however, may cause thickening of retinal blood vessel walls, impeding blood flow to your eyes and compromising your vision.
Read on as your optometrist from Innovative Eyecare explains everything you need to know about this condition.
How It Affects Your Eyesight
Chronic elevated blood pressure may cause the walls of your blood vessels to thicken, narrowing the passageway of blood. Consequently, your blood circulation may be impaired, restricting nutrients and oxygen from reaching your eyes and other organs. With inadequate blood flow, your retina and the other parts of your eyes may not be able to perform their functions, leading to changes in your vision.
Most of the time, you’ll only notice vision irregularities once your hypertension has progressed to a certain point. Blurry, double vision, headaches, dimmed eyesight and eye swelling are common symptoms. Visit your eye care associates if you experience any of these symptoms.
How It Is Managed
During your visit, we’ll perform a comprehensive eye exam to confirm hypertensive retinopathy. We’ll start by asking about your family medical history, as hypertension can be hereditary. Your eye doctor will then examine your retina. We’ll shine a light on your pupil to inspect your retinal blood vessels, checking for any narrowing or blood leaks. Upon confirming hypertensive retinopathy, we’ll then create your eye care plan. When it comes to treating this condition, the priority is to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels to reduce your symptoms.
Take your medications as instructed. You should also follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to diet and lifestyle modifications. Regular eye exams are a must too, especially if hypertension runs in your family. For those with severe hypertensive retinopathy, surgery or laser therapy may be required.
For any questions on how long-term hypertension affects your eye health, call us at (256) 270-0899. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Athens, Madison and nearby AL areas.