Vision Loss

Hypertension Caused Vision Loss, and Preventing It

When we relate hypertension to vision loss, it causes damage similarly to what we see with stroke to the brain, heart issues, and liver and kidney damage to those organs: pressure on blood vessel walls will lead to problems.  The small blood vessels in the eyes can be damaged when blood pressure increases.  As our hypertension rises, especially over an extended period of time, small tears in the inner walls may develop, finally causing them to bleed.  The optic nerve as well can become affected, with loss of sight a possible end result.

vision loss

Hypertensive Patients Eye

A person who is affected with hypertensive retinopathy might not experience any symptoms except for headaches and vision problems.  Often these symptoms are attributed to something else, and are usually first discovered in a routine eye examination.  A few of the things that might come up in an exam are narrowing or bleeding blood vessels, swelling of the retina, bleeding in the back of the eye and spots on the retina.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Vision Loss Due to Hypertension?

As with all treatment of blood vessel erosion due to high blood pressure, to adequately control your hypertension is first and foremost to controlling the condition.  This is done through proper diet and exercise, eliminating salt from the diet, and monitoring your condition on a regular basis to see how you are trending.  A new study suggests that increasing your vitamin C could help to reduce blood pressure, plus eliminating stress as much as possible can also help.

Coping with Vision LossThe good news is that the progress of hypertension-related eye disease is normally quite slow, so if you get regular eye exams it can be diagnosed at an early stage.  If caught early your doctor can prescribe treatment before permanent vision changes take place.  The situation if caught early enough might still be in a stage called ocular hypertension, which is merely a situation where there is higher pressure than normal inside the eye.

What Are Some of the Symptoms of Ocular Hypertension?

There will be pressure inside the eye, but the optic nerve will appear normal.  There will be no sign at this point of glaucoma, and there will be no other sign of disease to the eye.  At this point it may or may not be caused by high blood pressure, but that will be the primary thing that will be monitored.  These are conditions that are not a disease in itself, but there are conditions present that could be the beginning stages for the onset of glaucoma.  But considering the fact that in the United States in 2008, over 1 million people over 40 years old were legally blind (defined as 20/200 best corrected vision), it should be something everyone monitors on a regular basis.



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