Hypertensive retinopathy is the damage to the retina caused by high blood pressure. The layer of tissue which is at the back portion of the eye is known as retina. The main function of retina is to convert the light and images that go through the eye into nerve signals and then those signals are sent to the brain.
Usually, people who suffer from hypertensive retinopathy do not experience any symptom until the later stage of the disease. Malignant hypertension may lead to some sudden symptoms as listed below:
It is advised that the person after experiencing such symptoms should consult with the doctor immediately.
High blood pressure is one of the main causes behind hypertensive retinopathy. The severity of hypertensive retinopathy depends on the extent and the duration of the high blood pressure. Hypertensive retinopathy would be more serious if the blood pressure is high and it has observed from a long time.
The persons suffering from diabetes are also susceptible to hypertensive retinopathy. High cholesterol levels and smoking may lead to damage in retina and loss of vision.
Sometimes, due to malignant hypertension, blood pressure gets higher and the swift increase in blood pressure can lead to changes in eye sight.
The health care provider will check the patient using an instrument known as ophthalmoscope. The extent of damage to the retina may be graded from a scale of 1 to 4:
While at grade 1, the patient may not experience any symptom, the grades in between 1 to 4 show symptoms like changes in blood vessels, and other portions of the retina.
If the doctor grades the damage as 4 then there would be swelling in the optic nerve and in the macula i.e. the visual center of the retina.
Keeping the blood pressure in control is the only effective treatment for hypertensive retinopathy, because this action checks the changes in blood vessels of the eye and other parts of the body such as heart, kidneys, and brain.