High Blood Pressure and Your Eyes

High blood pressure is one of the most common conditions affecting Canadians. It is important when being diagnosed with high blood pressure to have your eyes tested yearly as you can develop Hypertensive retinopathy. Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina (the area at the back of the eye where images focus). Most people with Hypertensive retinopathy do not have any symptoms until the disease progresses. These symptoms may include Double vision, blurry vision, vision loss and headaches.

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or if you smoke, you have a higher risk of damage and vision loss. It is rare that blood pressure readings suddenly become very high. Sometimes the sudden rise in blood pressure can cause more severe changes in the eye. Other problems with the eye are more likely to occur, such as: Damage to the nerves in the eye (ischemic optic neuropathy) due to pool blood flow, Blockage of the bloods supply in the arteries to the retina (retinal artery occlusion), or Blockage of the veins that carry blood away fro
m the retina (retinal vein occlusion).