Eye Exams and Hypertension
EYE EXAMS AND HYPERTENSION Happy New Year!! Let’s all vow to take care of our eyesight this year, starting with a complete thorough eye exam! There are many things discovered during a comprehensive eye exam besides our visual acuity. One such thing is high blood pressure.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is often called the “silent killer” because many individuals aren’t aware they have the condition. High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, arterial aneurism and chronic kidney failure. Untreated hypertension can also affect eyesight and cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Left untreated, this damage can be serious.
Eye care professionals can play a role in the early detection of signs of hypertension. By dilating a patient’s pupils during an eye exam, eye care professionals can view the back of the eye and identify changes in the blood vessels. Certain changes, such as narrowing of the blood vessels, may indicate hypertension. By discovering these changes early, eye care professionals can refer the patient to his or her primary care physician for evaluations and treatment.
As with many chronic conditions, early detection may help to limit ocular and systemic complications of hypertension.