High Blood Pressure May Be Hurting Your Eyes

When you think of your high blood pressure, you likely think first of heart disease and wonder what effect it is having on your heart. But your high blood pressure could also be affecting your eyes and it's imperative you get regular vision care to prevent serious damage. Here are a few conditions to be aware of. 

Hypertensive Retinopathy

High blood pressure doesn't just damage the blood vessels to your heart, it can also damage the delicate vessels that supply blood to your eyes. The retina is at the back of your eyeball. It is the part of the eye that converts light into the pictures you see. If those tiny vessels are damaged, you may have bleeding in your eye, blurry vision, or even complete loss of vision. 

High cholesterol and smoking are other conditions that contribute to retinopathy. The higher your blood pressure is and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the potential for hypertensive retinopathy and damage to your eyes. Those who also have diabetes have an even greater risk to their eyes. 

Ischemic Optic Neuropathy 

The optic nerve is responsible for transferring information from your eye to your brain. High blood pressure can narrow the arteries that provide blood to the optic nerve. The blood can become sluggish as well. These conditions then deprive the optic nerve of oxygen. Ischemic optic neuropathy is typically painless, so a key symptom in the warning system that something is wrong in the body is missing. 

Instead, you may experience a darkening sensation for a few minutes before it returns to normal. This is your warning sign something is wrong, so schedule an appointment at a vision care center immediately. If you experience sudden vision loss or blindness in one eye, this is a medical emergency. 

Central Serous Choroidopathy

This is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up under the retina. There is a layer of tissue under the retina called the choroid, and this is where the leaking fluid comes from. As it builds up between the layers, it causes a small detachment of the retina. 

This results in visual disturbances. Vision may be distorted. Objects may appear closer or further away as depth perception is off. Straight lines may appear wavy or broken. Light-colored objects may appear muddied or brown. Colors may appear dull and light may seem dim. 

Choroidopathy may eventually go away after a month or two without any treatment. Sometimes the eye doctor will use medications or laser surgery to correct the problem. Underlying high blood pressure must be addressed to prevent future problems. 

To learn more, contact a vision care center near you.