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High Blood Pressure Can Cause Vision Problems

High Blood Pressure

  • Many Americans have high blood pressure
  • When blood pressure is high it makes the heart pump harder to push the blood through the body. If the pressure is too much it can cause serious problems for the body including hypertensive retinopathy
  • Hypertensive retinopathy is when the retina is damaged by high blood pressure. There are various symptoms including: narrowing of blood vessels and swelling of the optic nerve


Many people in the US have high blood pressure (HBP) which is also known as hypertension. Almost 60 million Americans age 6 or older have high blood pressure, but it is more prevalent among people 35 or older. An especially hard hit group are American males over sixty. More and more people are at risk. Many people, one third to one half of the population, don’t even know that they have high blood pressure. In spite of these facts, high blood pressure can be managed by going to see your health care practioner and having your blood pressure checked regularly. When people do not check on their blood pressure, many problems can occur including vision disorders.

Preventing HBP is the best answer, however understanding how it can affect your vision is vital. High diastolic blood pressure adds extra work onto the heart and arteries. The heart pumps harder to push the blood through the arteries creating a pressure against the walls of veins, capillaries and other vessels. If the pressure exceeds the bearable limit over a long period of time then it may cause brain hemorrhage and other problems for vessels and organs including the veins, kidneys, and eyes. The microscopic blood-vessels in the eyes are very tender and vulnerable to physical influence. There is an area at the back of the eye called retina, which can be damaged by high blood pressure. The name of this disease is hypertensive retinopathy. Hypertensive retinopathy can be found during a routine eye exam. The symptoms may be headaches and vision problems. This disease can be diagnosed by an eye care professonal using an ophthalmoscope. This is an instrument which projects light to the back of your eyeball for the professional to examine. Some signs of hypertensive retinopathy are swelling of the optic nerve, narrowing of blood vessels, fluid trickling from the blood vessels, spots in the retina referred to as cotton wool spots and exudates, and bleeding in the back of the eye.

Blood Pressure Causing Poor Vision
For prevention of hypertensive retinopathy, one has to start with the normalizing their blood pressure. Your diet should be taken into consideration. Consult with your dietitian to recommend what diet will work best for you to bring your high blood pressure to a safe level. There are many diets and each one is aimed to a specific task. Research all diets and be careful and conscious when choosing one, and stay disciplined when on it. If you are not doing cardiovascular exercises regularly or going to a gym once in a while, then you will want to initiate more physical work or exertion into your everyday routine which helps overall circulation. If you smoke you should consider quiting and if you have difficulty, consult your doctor about the programs helping smokers to quit. The chemicals in smoke can cause blood vessel constriction which then increases blood pressure. Avoid excessive intake of alcohol which also negatively effects the blood pressure. Take any blood pressure medications that your doctor gives you and you may want to re-evaluate your lifestyle. By leading a healthier way of life and keeping your blood pressure in control your vision and your body can remain strong.

Many nutrients, especially antioxidants, found in wholesome foods can go a long way to normalizing blood pressure and protecting the vision.

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The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “High Blood Pressure Can Cause Vision Problems”

  1. 1
    Charles Says:
    Is everyone with blood pressure at the same level of risk to have problems with their vision? Are there any other factors that would make a person more prone to having vision problems? I have hypertension, but I'm not sure if I should worry about this.

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