Hypertensive Retinopathy: Retinal Damage Caused by Hypertension

Hypertensive Retinopathy: Retinal Damage Caused by Hypertension

You may have heard the word hypertension a lot. It is also referred to as high blood pressure, which occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Over the long term, the condition could lead to certain health issues, including heart diseases. When the force of blood against the artery walls of the heart is too high, the arteries stretch or narrow and become damaged over time.

But if you thought hypertension only caused blood and heart-related problems, think again. An eyesight disorder that occurs as a result of high blood pressure is hypertensive retinopathy. The retina is the tissue layer located in the back of your eye that transforms light into nerve signals to help you see the world — and hypertension could cause damage to its blood vessels, needing you to consult a retinal specialist.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s have a look at some questions about hypertensive retinopathy that people often have.

  • What causes hypertensive retinopathy?

If your blood pressure has been consistently high over a prolonged period, the high blood pressure or hypertension could cause the retinal blood vessel walls to thicken, leading to hypertensive retinopathy.

  • What are the symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy?

Most of the time this condition is asymptomatic. Sometimes, blurred vision may be experienced. 

  • How does grading hypertensive retinopathy work?

Hypertensive retinopathy grading is as follows: 

  • Grade 1 is Mild Retinopathy — With narrow blood vessels damaged in the retina
  • Grade 2 is Moderate Retinopathy — With blood spots and fat deposits in the retina
  • Grade 3 is Malignant Retinopathy — With optic disc swelling and excessive blood spots in the retina

How Is Hypertensive Retinopathy Treated?

The diagnosis usually happens when an eye specialist uses a tool called an ophthalmoscope to examine your retina. Or performs a special test called fluorescein angiography to examine retinal blood flow. 

Effective hypertensive retinopathy treatment could involve the following — 

  • High blood pressure control: Ocular manifestations of hypertensive retinopathy may be reversible with control of the high blood pressure. 
  • Lifestyle changes: A healthy blood pressure can be achieved with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, reducing salt intake, regular physical activity, and limiting the amount of caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  • Treatment of retinal oedema:  If vision loss or severe visual impairment occurs, treatment of retinal oedema with laser or with intravitreal injection of corticosteroids may have to be done.

If you think you are at risk of hypertensive retinopathy or are experiencing any of its symptoms, avail a consultation at Prasad Netralaya — Mangalore and Udupi’s most trusted Eye Care Hospital. This will help to properly diagnose and treat any of your retinal problems. We have ophthalmologists and retina specialists who are skilled and qualified in retinal conditions management and treating complex retinal problems. Call us at +91 9513596565, or book an appointment if you wish to visit in person.