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What are the Effects of High Blood Pressure on the Eye?

High blood pressure can silently damage the delicate blood vessels in your eyes, leading to conditions like hypertensive retinopathy. This can result in blurred vision or even vision loss. Protecting your eyes starts with managing your blood pressure. Are you aware of the steps you can take to safeguard your vision? Let's explore how to keep your eyes healthy.
Anna T.
Anna T.

The effects of high blood pressure on the eye may include vision problems and burst blood vessels. People with high blood pressure often appear to have bloodshot eyes, and this is often directly related to increased flow of blood to the tiny blood vessels inside the eyes. Over time, high blood pressure can cause many to burst and others to appear enlarged and very noticeable. The burst vessels can lead to hypertensive retinopathy, which often causes blurred vision and may eventually result in blindness. People with high blood pressure may also experience severe headaches, which tend to be directly related to the increased flow of blood to the eyes.

A person suffering from the effects of high blood pressure on the eye is typically not able to treat the problem until the high blood pressure is dealt with. Once a person's blood pressure starts to go down, he will most likely begin to notice an improvement in his vision and the appearance of his eyes. In some cases, the elevation in blood pressure can lead to permanent damage. Whether or not a person's eye problems can be treated typically depends on how long she has had high blood pressure. People who have only recently developed high blood pressure will likely not have as much eye damage as a person who has been struggling with the condition for years.

High blood pressure can damage the retina, the lining of tissue at the back of the eye.
High blood pressure can damage the retina, the lining of tissue at the back of the eye.

To determine whether the effects of high blood pressure on the eye have led to hypertensive retinopathy, an eye doctor must perform an examination. The examination may involve the use of dye under a bright light. This will most likely help the doctor see just how bad the eye damage is. After the examination, an eye doctor will probably diagnose her patient with hypertensive retinopathy if it is present and proceed with discussing treatment options.

A patient's high blood pressure must first be treated before the effects on the eye can be addressed.
A patient's high blood pressure must first be treated before the effects on the eye can be addressed.

Most people with eye damage related to high blood pressure will be advised to get their blood pressure under control first. This might involve both the use of prescription medication as well as lifestyle changes. Controlling the blood pressure is usually enough to treat the hypertensive retinopathy, but there are some other things a person can do at home if eye redness persists, even after his blood pressure goes down. Taking B complex and A vitamins may both benefit the vision, and a tea made from raspberry leaves could be beneficial for reducing the appearance of bloodshot eyes when applied to the eyes with a cotton ball.

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Discussion Comments

literally45

High blood pressure medications cause dry eye. It's even listed as a side effect on most of them. I'm on beta-blockers and I can't get through a day without using artificial tears.

bear78

@burcinc-- Yes, high blood pressure can cause high eye pressure. You need to have your blood pressure checked and if it's high, you need to take medications for it.

My mom has had high blood pressure (hypertension) for years and occasionally her eye pressure also goes up because of it. Like the article said, high blood pressure causes increased flow of blood to the eyes. This is called eye pressure.

It's dangerous to have untreated high blood pressure because it can damage the nerves in your eyes and cause all sorts of problems.

burcinc

Is high eye pressure a symptom of high blood pressure?

My left eye became bloodshot last week. I went to an eye doctor and he checked my eye pressure and said that it's high. He gave me an ointment and an eye drop to use for it. He also asked me if I suffer from high blood pressure. Are the two closely related?

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    • High blood pressure can damage the retina, the lining of tissue at the back of the eye.
      By: kocakayaali
      High blood pressure can damage the retina, the lining of tissue at the back of the eye.
    • A patient's high blood pressure must first be treated before the effects on the eye can be addressed.
      By: niyazz
      A patient's high blood pressure must first be treated before the effects on the eye can be addressed.
    • High blood pressure may cause eye redness.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      High blood pressure may cause eye redness.
    • Over time, constantly high blood pressure can lead to blurred vision and possible eye damage.
      By: Phase4Photography
      Over time, constantly high blood pressure can lead to blurred vision and possible eye damage.
    • High blood pressure can increase the flow of blood through blood vessels in the eye.
      By: stockshoppe
      High blood pressure can increase the flow of blood through blood vessels in the eye.