Can High Blood Pressure Impact Your Vision
High blood pressure affects a great many Americans. For one thing, men suffer from it at higher rates than women , so your gender might play a factor in whether youre at risk. This risk shouldnt be ignored. In 2017, 500,000 people died with high blood pressure serving as a contributing cause.
Because it can be life-threatening, people do what they can to manage it. But one thing patients might not expect is the way it affects your eyes. Sometimes patients find that out during a routine eye exam, which isnt ideal. High blood pressure, medication, or diseases with high blood pressure playing a part can all impact eye health, and it helps to know the risks early.
Unfortunately, yes. Suffering from untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure for a long time can be detrimental to your eyes. Several eye diseases are directly or indirectly caused by high blood pressure . Various hypertension-induced eye damages include:
Causes Of Blurred Vision
There are many possible reasons for blurred vision.
- Eye strain caused by looking at something, such as your computer screen, for a long time, or wearing the wrong prescription glasses or contact lenses
- Refractive errors these can usually be treated with contact lenses, glasses and/or surgery, and include:
- Astigmatism a distortion of your vision that can make objects at all distances appear blurry, which is usually caused by the front surface of your eye being misshapen
- Hyperopia this is also known as long-sightedness and causes objects in your near vision to appear blurry other symptoms include eye strain and fatigue
- Myopia this is also known as short-sightedness, is the most common refractive error and causes objects in the distance to appear blurry other symptoms include eye strain, headaches and squinting
- Presbyopia age-related loss of your near sight caused by the lenses inside your eyes hardening
- Wearing your contact lenses for too long this can cause debris in your tear film to build up on your contact lenses
Blood Pressure And Glaucoma
University of California, San Francisco, UCSF Medical Center
The relationship between blood pressure and glaucoma risk is complicated. Learn why both high and low blood pressure may increase the risk for this eye disease.
As with many aspects of our health, moderation is key with regard to blood pressure levels and risk of glaucoma. Very high blood pressure is not good for glaucoma because it may raise eye pressure however, moderate to very low blood pressure is also a problem because it is important for the optic nerve to receive enough blood flow.
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When To Talk With A Professional
You dont need to see a doctor if the blurriness goes away easily after blinking or trying other home remedies. However, if you notice that your vision is gradually getting more and more blurry and the blurriness persists, visit an eye care specialist for an evaluation.
You should call 911 or seek emergency medical care if your eyes suddenly become blurry and you experience any of these symptoms:
- severe headache
- loss of muscle control on one side of your body
- facial drooping
This could be a sign of a stroke.
You should also seek medical treatment if blurry vision occurs following a head injury, as this can be a sign of a concussion.
Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to work with your doctor to manage your diabetes. You should also have your eyes checked regularlyat least once a year. Your doctor can tell you if you should have them checked more often.
Tips for preventing diabetic retinopathy:
- Control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
- See your family doctor regularly.
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Your Retina Is Damaged
The retina is the back part of your eye where light gets focused, like a movie screen. If something happens to that surface, like swelling or tearing, the picture can be distorted or lost. A family history of retinal disease, poor diet, smoking, previous eye injuries or disease, and health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can raise the odds of problems like macular edema and a detached retina.
What To Do To Reduce The Impact Of High Blood Pressure On Your Eyes
If you have high blood pressure, your GP might recommend that you take antihypertensive medications to bring your blood pressure numbers down. There are also a number of lifestyle changes you can try that can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of health problems, including heart disease and eye complications. These may help you avoid, delay, or reduce the need for antihypertensive therapy:13
Maintain a healthy BMI
Get regular exercise, at least 30 minutes most days of the week
Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy
Reduce salt intake
Limit alcohol consumption to moderate amounts
Cut back on caffeine
Reduce mental stress
It can also be useful to monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor periodically for health checks. Ultimately, a proactive approach to blood pressure management can help prevent many of the eye complications of hypertension, such as glaucoma. If you think your blood pressure may be high, its important to seek advice from your GP.
If youve been having any problems with your eyesight, book an appointment at your local Specsavers.
For more information on glaucoma causes, you can find it in our dedicated glaucoma causes resource.
Andy BrittonBSc MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc Dip TP
Andy graduated from Aston University in 1996 and has practiced in all areas, including university and hospital clinics. He has a strong Read more
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How Is Blurred Vision Treated
The cause of your blurred vision will be diagnosed using various eye tests and a physical examination of your eyes. If an underlying medical cause is suspected, you may also have a blood test.
The treatment of your blurred vision will depend on the cause. It might include eye drops, laser surgery or medicines.
If you have blurred vision, you may need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
What The Studies Say
In a study published in Hypertension, hypertensive retinopathy and the risk of stroke was investigated.
Researchers checked about 2,900 patients with high blood pressure for hypertensive retinopathy, then tucked them for an average of 13 years.
They found that those with a mild form of the condition had a 35 percent greater risk of stroke.
That increased risk leaped to 137 percent for those with moderate or severe hypertensive retinopathy.
Although more research is needed to confirm the findings regarding stroke risk, leading health experts have no doubt about the crucial role of eye doctors to educate patients about the need to control their blood pressure.
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Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Ways you can help prevent eye problems caused by diabetes include:
- Control your blood sugar. Your doctor can provide direction on how to keep your blood sugar normal and avoid fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye diseases. In addition to getting your eyes checked, its also very important to keep the blood sugars under control, says Cai. This is not only good for you overall, but also good for your eyes.
- Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Get recommendations from your doctor on ways you can combat high blood pressure and cholesterol, because these can worsen diabetic eye disease.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can cause further damage to your blood vessels, including the ones in your eyes, so its very important to stop smoking.
- Avoid harmful rays. Protect yourself from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to these rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.
You Have A Rare Condition Called Uveitis
If your eye blurriness and dryness are accompanied by inflammation in or around the eye, you could have uveitis.
The inflammation usually happens when your body is fighting an infection or you have an autoimmune disease, according to the NEI. The most common causes of uveitis arecorneal abrasion/ eye trauma, infection, and autoimmune disease.
The prevalence of uveitis is pretty low, but the damage can be quite severe, said Dr. Diaz. Symptoms vary depending on what part of the eye is affected
“Inflammation in the front part of the eye presents with redness, light sensitivity, and pain, whereas inflammation in the back part of the eye presents with floaters, fuzzy vision, and flashing lights,” explained Dr. Diaz.
According to the NEI, treatment for uveitis usually involves steroids given in some form, from pills and eye drops to injections and implants.
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High Blood Pressure And Vision Disturbance: What You Should Know
High blood pressure isnt just about your heart. It can cause a variety of problems throughout your entire body, including your vision. Heres why and what you need to know.
Just like your other organs, your eyes depend on blood flow to work properly. If you have high blood pressure, it can damage the delicate blood vessels that are responsible for transporting nutrient-rich blood to your eyes. This can cause a number of specific eye diseases.
Hypertensive retinopathy: Your retina can become damaged, causing your eye to bleed. Blurred vision and complete vision loss are symptoms of damage to the retina. This condition can be even worse if you have diabetes in addition to high blood pressure .
Choroidopathy: When fluid builds up under the retina due to high blood pressure, your vision may become distorted or impaired. This condition can also cause scarring, which leads to decreased vision.
Optic neuropathy: Damage to the optic nerve can result when blood flow is blocked. This can also lead to bleeding in your eye and loss of vision.
What Can Your Eyes Tell You About Heart Disease
The eyes do more than allow us to see they have something to say. In fact, an eye exam can reveal underlying health problems.
How is this possible? The arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eye, known as the retina vasculature, is closely connected to the health of your heart. That means issues we see in the eye can be directly linked to health problems with the heart and the vessels in your body.
Most eye exams include an inspection of the outside and inside of the eye. To do this, your ophthalmologist will use an ophthalmoscope to examine things such as pupil reflexes, the lens of your eye, the retina and the optic nerve.
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How Is Hypertensive Retinopathy Diagnosed
An eye care professional can diagnose hypertensive retinopathy. Using an ophthalmoscope, an instrument that projects light to examine the back of the eyeball, the doctor will look for signs of retinopathy that include:
- Narrowing of blood vessels
- Spots on the retina known as cotton wool spots and exudates
- Swelling of the macula and optic nerve
- Bleeding in the back of the eye
Things That Likely Wont Treat Blurry Vision Naturally
You may have heard about eye exercises to help maintain optimal vision, such as rolling the eyes back and forth. However, theres little credible scientific evidence suggesting that eye exercises can improve blurry vision.
For eye health, a well-rounded diet high in fruits and veggies is recommended over supplements. These vitamins can be found in leafy greens and other colorful fruits and vegetables, like:
Dont rely on vitamin supplements for adequate nutrition. See a doctor or nutritionist if youre unsure how to achieve a balanced diet.
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New Or Severe Headache Without Trauma
Some emergency conditions marked by headache and blurry vision can also occur without trauma. If you feel you have any of the following conditions, seek immediate medical help.
In closed-angle glaucoma, pressure in the eye builds up because fluid in the front part of the eye does not drain as it should. This is considered a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
If not treated, the pressure inside your eye can build to the point that it damages your optic nerve, which could result in permanent vision loss.
Closed-angle glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma. Unlike the more common open-angle glaucoma, this type of glaucoma develops quickly, and its symptoms are obvious.
It is called closed-angle glaucoma because the angle between the iris and the cornea is either closed or very narrow. This most often occurs in older adults, especially those with smaller eyes.
Closed-angle glaucoma affects women about twice as often as men. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include:
- blurred or hazy vision
- red, flushed skin
- loss of consciousness
Carbon monoxide poisoning is treated with oxygen, either through a mask or placement in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Be sure to have a functioning CO detector installed in your home.
Herpes zoster ophthalmicus
Early symptoms of herpes zoster opthalmicus may include:
- flu-like symptoms
Meningitis and encephalitis
When Should I Take A Blood Pressure Pill Before Having My Pressure Tested
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Fluid Is Building Up In Your Eye
That can put pressure on the optic nerve and damage it. If you’re also seeing halos around lights, your eyes are very red and hurt a lot, and you feel queasy, you may have a type of glaucoma called acute angle closure glaucoma. It develops very quickly, and you could lose your vision within a day if it’s not treated. Open-angle glaucoma is more common, but it doesn’t usually affect your vision at first, because it progresses very slowly over time. Once glaucoma affects your vision, there is no way to get that vision back because your optic nerve has been permanently damaged. The best way to prevent damage is to be diagnosed early by seeing your doctor regularly, who will monitor your eye pressure. If itâs too high, they may recommend eye drops or surgery to lower the eye pressure into a safe zone to prevent damage and vision loss.
Can Stress Cause Blurred Vision
The Mayo Clinic states that eye strain and dry eye brought on by stress and fatigue may also cause blurry vision. The good news is that most symptoms are temporary, wont cause permanent eye damage, and will go away if you rest your eyes. According to MedlinePlus, eyelid twitching is often brought about by stress.
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High Blood Pressure Medication
High blood pressure meds are also known as hypertension medication. They have beta-blockers work in the bloodstream to counteract high blood pressure. But they can harm the lacrimal gland, leading to dry eye symptoms. Beta-blockers also seem to disrupt feeling in the cornea and can lead to overall eye irritation.
Home Blood Sugar Test Does High Blood Sugar Cause Blurry Vision
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