What is it?

Hypertensive retinopathy is an eye condition in which the retina, the layer that translates the image you are seeing into electrical impulses to the brain, is damaged due to high blood pressure (hypertension). Over time, hypertension causes blood vessels in the retina to become narrower, causing reduced blood flow to the retina and ultimately to damage. Aside from the gradual vision loss, people suffering from hypertensive retinopathy are at risk of developing various complications related to the retina. It is actually among the most common reasons for retina damage. Risk factors include prolonged high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol.

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Signs & symptoms

Hypertensive retinopathy is usually asymptomatic until the disease has progressed significantly.
Symptoms include blurred or poor vision, headaches and eye swelling. These visual changes may ultimately lead to blindness.


Hypertensive retinopathy can be detected by a fundus examination performed by an ophthalmologist. During this examination, the doctor will apply eye drops that dilate your pupils.
Fundus photography is usually performed in order to document and enable good follow up of your retina.
Fluorescein angiography, a technique used for examining the blood circulation of the retina, is often used to detect blocked retinal blood vessels.


Since hypertensive retinopathy is a result of hypertension, treatment is aimed at controlling the high blood pressure and, as a result, slowing disease progression. A combination of lifestyle changes with blood pressure controlling medications are used to slow vision deterioration and prevent complications.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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