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Can High Blood Pressure Affect Eyesight?

: Can High Blood Pressure Affect Eyesight?


High blood pressure CAN affect eyesight.

One in three America adults suffers from high blood pressure, many that are not even aware.  High blood pressure affects all blood vessels in the body, including those in the eyes, which if damaged, can ultimately affect eyesight.

How Blood Pressure Works

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the artery walls as the heart pumps blood throughout the circulatory system.  Blood pressure is measured in a fraction ratio, systolic blood pressure over diastolic in millimeters of mercury (mm HG).  When the heart contracts the force exerted is called the systolic blood pressure.  Diastolic blood pressure is measured when the heart is resting between beats.  The blood pressure is considered normal at 120/80 mm HG.

How High Blood Pressure Works

High blood pressure is defined as greater than 140/90 mm HG.  The force exerted on the arteries will ultimately cause damage to many parts of the body over time including placing you at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, and kidney failure.

High Blood Pressure and Eyesight

The retina of the eye, the thin tissue at the back of the eye that transforms light and images to nerve signals that are sent to the brain, contains blood vessels that require a healthy blood flow to work properly.  The exertion of blood pressure that is high can damage the blood vessels on the retina causing a condition called hypertensive retinopathy.  The vision loss resulting from hypertensive retinopathy depends on how high the blood pressure and for how long it has been present.  The only treatment for hypertensive retinopathy is to manage your blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure Medications and Eyesight

The only treatment for hypertensive retinopathy is to manage your blood pressure, but interestingly, one of the side effects of some blood pressure medications including guanethidine, reserpine, and thiazide diuretics can affect vision.




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“Hypertensive retinopathy – PubMed Health.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. < PMH0001994/>

“Vision problems: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.

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