Hypertensive Eye Diseases


Now if you are confused by what the title says you are not alone.

Hypertensive retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by high blood pressure. The retina is the layer of tissue on the back part of the eye, which is charge of changing light and images that enter the eye into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. We all know that high blood pressure makes our hearts work over time, but did you know that suffering from high blood pressure can also damage blood vessels in the eye? The higher the blood pressure, the more severe the damage will be.

High blood pressure happens to a high percentage of people. Currently, 7.5 million Canadians suffer from hypertension, which is known as the measure of tension put on the heart by the pressure of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. In other words the heart beats harder to pump blood out into the body, forcing the blood vessels to stretch in order to allow the blood to flow easily. With time, the blood vessels in the body have had to stretch so much, the tissue that makes up the arteries reaches its healthy limit and gets damaged. Hypertensive retinopathy happens when the problem reaches the blood vessels in the retina, and if left untreated, the damage could be serious.

  • High salt intake
  • Being overweight or obese
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Genetics
  • Adrenal & Thyroid disorders
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea

If you suffer from hypertension, there are some things you can do to reduce your high blood pressure, which will help you prevent and control hypertensive retinopathy.

  • Add Potassium to your diet & lower your salt intake: Potassium is a chemical that helps your body balance out the effects of salt, such as reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove water. By consuming potassium, you are helping your kidneys filter out blood and sucking out the extra fluid, which is sent to your bladder as pee.Good sources of potassium are:
    • Bananas
    • Melons
    • Oranges
    • Spinach
    • Zucchini
  • Reduce your cholesterol intake: Having too much cholesterol in your system increases the risk of forming blood clots in your arteries. If this happens, your heart will be forced to work overtime to get blood out to the body, causing or increasing hypertension.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity, such as walking, jogging, yoga or even cardio workouts, done for a total of 30 minutes or longer on the regular can help strengthen your heart and increase blood circulation.
  • Take your blood-pressure medications.

If you do get hypertensive eye disease, some of the symptoms are double vision, dim vision or vision loss, you may also get headaches. However, a person won’t typically experience any other symptoms and the problem will be discovered during an eye exam.

Remember to keep an active and healthy lifestyle, and visit your O.D. for regular eye exams!

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