Can High Blood Pressure Affect the Eyes?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, October 4, 2021

High blood pressure (hypertension) can damage your eyes, and your eye doctor can spot the signs even before you do.

Many people know that high blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for heart and kidney disease, but are unaware that uncontrolled blood pressure can also damage your eyes.

How can high blood pressure damage your eyes?

Retinopathy (blood vessel damage)

Blurred vision or blindness can result from a shortage of blood flow to the retina. This condition is more likely to occur in those who have diabetes or high blood pressure. Hypertensive retinopathy can only be treated by controlling blood pressure.

Choroidopathy (fluid buildup under the retina)

The accumulation of fluid beneath the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eyeball, causes distorted vision or, in some cases,  scarring that affects vision.

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If you have high blood pressure, schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor near you for an eye health examination.

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Optic neuropathy (nerve damage)

As a result of blocked blood flow that damages the optic nerve, nerve cells in your eyes can be killed, resulting in temporary or permanent vision loss.

Stroke-induced vision loss

High blood pressure can trigger a stroke, and a stroke can result in vision loss.

High blood pressure, in addition to endangering the structure of the eye, can trigger a stroke, which can harm the optic nerve or the part of the brain responsible for image processing.

Preventing vision damage caused by hypertension

Keeping your blood pressure within normal limits is the best way to prevent ocular problems caused by high blood pressure.

Consult with your eye doctor to learn the best treatment for your condition. It may include dietary changes, exercise, weight loss, and medication.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Eye Health

Contact an eye doctor near you to preserve your long-lasting vision and protect your eyes from the risks of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for heart and kidney disease, but can also damage your eyes.