Hypertensive retinopathy is damage to theretina from high blood pressure. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back part of the eye. It changes light and images that enter the eye into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.
See also: Diabetic retinopathy
High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the retina. The higher the blood pressure and the longer it has been high, the more severe the damage is likely to be.
When you have diabetes, high cholesterol levels, or you smoke, you have a higher risk of damage and vision loss.
Rarely, a condition called malignant hypertension develops. Blood pressure readings suddenly become very high. Sometimes, the sudden rise in blood pressure can cause more severe changes in the eye.
Other problems with the retina are also more likely to occur, such as:
Kovach JL, Schwartz SG, Schneider S, Rosen RB. Systemic hypertension and the eye. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 15th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2009:chap 13.
Klig JE. Ophthalmologic complications of systemic disease. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2008;26(1):217-231.
Rogers AH. Hypertensive retinopathy. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis Mo: Mosby Elsevier;2008:chap 6.15.
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