The pressure exerted by blood against the walls of our blood vessels is known as blood pressure. Higher than usual blood pressure can lead to severe health problems and complications such as stroke, heart disease and others.
Hypertension is the medical name for high blood pressure; it is a serious health problem globally and the causes of the disease are not exactly known but are usually identified as the effects of an underlying health problem or a condition like kidney disease.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at how high blood pressure can lead to problems for our vision too in the form of hypertension retinopathy.
What is Hypertension Retinopathy?
Hypertension Retinopathy is an eye condition that is caused due to hypertension. When hypertension is left untreated for too long, it can start causing damage to the retina, which is the tissue at the end of our eye which plays a vital role in our eyesight and vision.
The condition occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina get damaged due to high blood pressure.
The chance of the retina being damaged by hypertension retinopathy increases with time if hypertension is left unchecked.
Problems Caused by Hypertension Retinopathy
- The symptoms of hypertension retinopathy only show up when a significant amount of damage has already been done. However, an eye doctor can detect the problem in its early stages too during a comprehensive eye examination.
- Symptoms of hypertension retinopathy include:
- Double vision or cloudy vision.
- A gradual loss of vision.
- The rate at which the disease has progressed is usually measured in a classification system known as KWB grade system:
- During Grade 1, the narrowing of arteries is mild and symptoms are usually not present.
- During Grade 2, the narrowing of arteries is more pronounced, the symptoms are still not present.
- During Grade 3, symptoms may start showing up and signs of damage to the eye like retinal haemorrhageand white patches on the retina may be present.
- During Grade 4, symptoms are present and clear. Along with all the signs of damage in Grade 3, swelling of the optic disc is also observed.
Prevention of Hypertension Retinopathy
The following tips can be used to treat or prevent hypertension retinopathy:
- Prevention of hypertension retinopathy is completely possible through a strict approach towards the management of high blood pressure and other associated conditions such as diabetics.
- Lifestyle changes also play a huge part in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Losing weight and giving up smoking are two examples of lifestyle choices that can help prevent hypertension retinopathy.
- Lastly, taking steps that control hypertension help in the prevention of hypertension retinopathy like:
- Making exercise an important part of your life.
- Reducing sodium intake.
- Cutting down on alcohol.
- Eating a healthy and nutritious diet.
- Lowering your caffeine intake.
- Finding effective ways of managing stress in day to day life.