Hypertension can cause hypertensive retinopathy in your eyes. Learn about high blood pressure and the dangers to your eyes.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a significant factor in heart disease, but it can also affect your eyes. Since high blood pressure can cause your blood vessels to thicken, it can restrict blood flow to different body areas – including the eyes. The following is an overview of how hypertension can affect your sight and lead to eye disease.
Blood Pressure and Your Eyes
As your blood pressure rises higher over time, it can lead to the small blood vessels in your retina to narrow. Consequently, the circulation to your retina becomes poor, affecting its function and causing hypertensive retinopathy (HR).
While hypertensive retinopathy is one of the most common eye diseases, most people with mild to moderate HR don’t know they have it. As a result, the condition is left untreated and results in reduced vision, bursting of a blood vessel, and more, according to Raj Maturi, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Fortunately, many cases are caught during routine eye exams where an ophthalmologist examines your retina. “Small areas where blood flow is cut-off show up as white blobs, called cotton wool spots, on the retinal surface,” says Maturi.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, all healthy adults should get a baseline eye exam by age 40. Moreover, they should get an eye exam every year or two once they reach age 65.
Treating Hypertensive Retinopathy
If you have a mild or moderate case of HR, then the best way to treat it is to manage your blood pressure. For example, you can eat healthily, limit sodium in your diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.
If you don’t know where to start, then follow the DASH diet, as it was specifically designed to lower blood pressure. One big part of this diet plan is to limit your sodium to a maximum of 2,300 mg per day, as salt increases your blood pressure.
In addition to eating healthier, you can help improve your blood pressure by engaging in regular physical activity. Finally, don’t start smoking; if you already smoke, make it a goal to quit and use resources like smokefree.gov to help you on your journey.
Blood pressure can cause certain eye problems and diseases, but you can treat it by lowering your blood pressure. However, if the case is more severe, you may need to seek medical help. “When hypertensive retinopathy sets in, many complications can develop such as complete occlusion of the vein or the artery,” says Maturi. “There can be tremendous vision loss when this happens.”
If you’re looking for additional ways of boosting your eye health, consider taking Eye & Vision Support. Its ingredients help strengthen the cornea, support a healthy retina, promote healthy blood vessel growth in the eye, and more. Give your eyes the support they deserve by lowering your blood pressure and taking Eye & Vision Support.