How does high blood pressure affect the eye?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sravanthi Sunkaraneni

Studies show that poorly controlled hypertension impacts various systems like the cardiovascular, renal, cerebrovascular, and retina. High blood pressure or hypertension can affect the eyes through 3 types of ocular damage: choroidopathy, retinopathy, and optic neuropathy.

The manifestations of choroidopathy include serous retinal detachment*, elschnig spots** , and Siegrist streaks***.

Whereas, high blood pressure can also cause hypertensive retinopathy, a retinal vascular damage. It can damage the blood vessels present in the retina, a layer of tissue at the back part of the eye. Retina changes the light that enters the eye into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. However, the signs of the disease usually develop in the later stages. The focus of the treatment is on controlling the blood pressure and treating the retina when the vision loss occurs.

Optic neuropathy refers to damage inflicted on the optic nerve in your eye. The optic nerve is a bundle of millions of fibres in the retina that sends visual signals to the brain. It is a frequent cause of vision loss. The main symptom is decreased vision, with colours appearing subtly washed out in the affected eye. Optic neuropathy can be caused by “demyelination, inflammation, ischemia, infiltration, compression, and hereditary and toxic/nutritional causes. Careful clinical evaluation is essential to rule in the diagnosis of optic neuropathy”.

* An emergency situation in which the retina at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position.

** Changes in the retinal pigment epithelium, the spots are yellow and they have defined margins.

*** Hyper-pigmented flecks that are arranged in a linear fashion along the vessels of the eye.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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