Most people know that high blood pressure (hypertension) can cause heart and kidney disease, but most don’t realize it can cause eye disease and permanent vision loss as well. Here’s what you need to know to protect your vision.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is simply the amount of “squeeze” your heart puts into each beat to move blood around your body (systolic), followed by the amount of pressure between beats when the heart rests (diastolic). The numbers are influenced by how much blood is pushed out (cardiac output), the resistance in your blood vessels, and their size and flexibility. Factors like stress, activity, diet, and other health problems can also influence these numbers.
What You Can’t See Does Hurt You
One of the most important facts about high blood pressure is that people are rarely symptomatic and can have dangerously high blood pressure for years without knowing. That is why it’s referred to as the silent killer. These people are at risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and vision problems like hypertensive retinopathy, optic neuropathy, and choroidopathy.
High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Vision
The retina is located near the optic nerve at the back of the eye where images are focused. The small blood vessels and nerves of your eyes are vulnerable to the damage high blood pressure can cause. Advanced damage may cause headaches and vision problems, but mild and moderate hypertensive retinopathy often shows no symptoms and can be detected during a routine eye exam.
Optic neuropathy happens when the increase in the pressure in your eyes and around your optic nerve causes permanent damage and potentially vision loss.
Choroidopathy is damage from high blood pressure that causes small tears in the retina, allowing fluid to leak into the space. It can cause detachment of the retina, making surgery necessary, and can even cause blindness.
High blood pressure can also cause dizziness and blurred vision. Although usually temporary, these can be warning signs for potential permanent damage.
It is important you take your prescribed medications as ordered, follow your diet and exercise plan, and have routine eye exams.
Schedule an appointment with Michigan Eye Institute to protect your eyes today for a brighter tomorrow. Michigan Eye Institute specializes in general eye care, cataract surgery, laser vision correction, corneal inlay procedures, and more. Please visit our blog for additional informative articles.