Hypertensive retinopathy is retinal vascular damage caused by high blood pressure (HBP). It has no early signs and symptoms, and usually manifests late in the disease.
In this post, your local optometrist, Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry discusses how hypertension contributes to vision loss.
How HBP Harms Your Vision
Blood vessel damage or retinopathy is caused by the lack of blood flow to the retina. It results in blurred vision or complete vision loss. Diabetic patients with high blood pressure, smokers, people who are overweight, those with a family history of the disease and renal dysfunction patients are at higher risk of this condition.
Apart from retinal vascular damage, HBP increases the risk of stroke, which can damage the optic nerve or the area of the brain that translates images.
Symptoms and Management
Patients with hypertensive retinopathy only experience symptoms once the retina is already severely damaged. Common symptoms may include double or cloudy vision, headaches and vision loss. If you experience any of these symptoms frequently, it may be an indication of dangerously high blood pressure, and you must call your doctor immediately.
It’s important that you regularly visit your doctor for a routine eye exam, especially if you are at higher risk of the disease. Early detection can help preserve your vision and maintain your eye health.
The only treatment for hypertensive retinopathy is managing your blood pressure. This includes lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight, staying active, eating healthier and reducing alcohol intake. In addition, your doctor may also prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure levels.
For comprehensive eye exams, visit Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, your local provider of eye care services. We also offer quality eyeglasses and contact lenses. Call us at (703) 413-1400, or request an appointment online. We assist patients in Arlington, VA.