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HYPERTENSION AND THE EYE

Along with causing heart and kidney problems, untreated high blood pressure can also affect the eyesight and lead to eye disease. Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the area at the back of the eye where images focus. This eye disease is known as hypertensive retinopathy. The damage can be serious if hypertension is not treated.

Hypertensive retinopathy is usually asymptomatic.

Signs include

·        Narrowing of blood vessels

·        Spots on the retina known as cotton wool spots and exudates

·        Swelling of the macula (the central area of the retina) and optic nerve

·        Bleeding in the back of the eye

How Is Hypertensive Retinopathy Treated?

The best way to treat hypertensive retinopathy is to adequately control blood pressure.

 

Can Hypertensive Retinopathy Be Prevented?

To prevent hypertensive retinopathy, keep your blood pressure under control by reaching and maintaining your optimal weight, sticking with a diet recommended by your physician, exercising regularly, and faithfully taking your high blood pressure medications as prescribed. In addition, see your doctor on a regular basis for follow-up care.