12 April 2011


What is hypertensive retinopathy?
Hypertensive retinopathy involves damage to the retina, the inner coat of the eye ball, caused by high blood pressure.
How can high blood pressure affect the eye?
High blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels in the eyes. The higher the blood pressure and the longer the period of time in which it has been elevated, the more severe the damage is likely to be.
Your health care provider can see narrowing of blood vessels and excess fluid oozing from blood vessels with the ophthalmoscope. The degree of retina damage (retinopathy) is graded on a scale of I to IV. At grade I, no symptoms may be present. Grade IV hypertensive retinopathy includes swelling of the optic nerve and visual center of the retina (macula), which can cause decreased vision.
Signs and symptoms
Visual disturbances
Call a doctor if you notice changes in your vision, particularly if they are sudden, including blurring, spots, flashes, blind spots, distortion or difficulty reading or doing detail work
How to prevent hypertensive retinopathy?
Control of high blood pressure prevents vascular changes of the eye.
What are the tests to confirm hypertensive retinopathy?
Ophthalmoscopic examination
Fluorescein angiography Treatment
Control of high blood pressure (hypertension) is the only treatment for hypertensive retinopathy.
What happens if blood pressure is not controlled?
Patients with grade IV or severe hypertensive retinopathy frequently have associated cardiac and renal complications of high blood pressure. The retina will generally recover well if the blood pressure is controlled, but some patients with grade IV hypertensive retinopathy will have permanent damage to the optic nerve or macula.

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