Hypertensive retinopathy is a complication of high blood pressure that, like diabetic retinopathy, can lead to a complete loss of vision when left undetected. High blood pressure can damage the sensitive blood vessels in your eyes, blocking essential nourishment from reaching the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive tissue that transforms light into nerve signals that are then sent to the brain to interpret. When the retina is deprived of nourishment, its function may be limited. It can also become swollen, leading to additional complications, such as optic nerve damage.

The longer you have had high blood pressure, the more likely you are to develop hypertensive retinopathy, particularly if you smoke, have diabetes, or suffer from high cholesterol. The retina specialists at California Retina Associates recommend people with high blood pressure visit our office at least once a year for comprehensive vision screening. Detected early, steps can be taken to keep hypertensive retinopathy from causing vision loss.

What Causes Hypertensive Retinopathy?

The primary cause of hypertensive retinopathy is prolonged high blood pressure (i.e., hypertension), which occurs when the force of the blood against the arteries is too high. Hypertension can lead to a variety of health disorders, including those that are detrimental to the brain, heart and eyes. High blood pressure can cause the tiny vessels that supply blood to the retina to narrow; eventually, this damage can affect clarity of vision and lead to vision loss.

Symptoms of Hypertensive Retinopathy

Symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy may include:

  • Double vision
  • Dim vision
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sudden loss of vision

Symptoms of this disorder do not commonly occur before it is in its later stages. To detect asymptomatic hypertensive retinopathy, our doctors can use specialized diagnostic tools and tests that identify narrow blood vessels and check for fluid leakage common to this disease.

Treating Hypertensive Retinopathy

In San Diego, hypertensive retinopathy cannot be treated. The best way to prevent it is to control your blood pressure. Sadly, once your retina has been damaged by this type of retinopathy, options for even minor repair are limited. Your retina cannot be regrown, and it cannot be transplanted, which makes early detection and prompt action essential for avoiding permanent vision loss.

Our renowned retina specialists recommend working with your primary care physician to control your blood pressure, taking medication as prescribed and attending all scheduled exams. You should also eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep your blood pressure stable.

Why Choose California Retina Associates

When hypertensive retinopathy threatens your vision, you need the dedicated care of experienced eye doctors. At California Retina Associates, we have assembled nationally-recognized eye doctors in the field of retinal care along with some of the most advanced retinal care technology available. Eye doctors from across California and around the country refer retinopathy patients to our San Diego practice for treatment. We use the most advanced technology available to ensure you retain as much vision for as long as possible.

If you have high blood pressure, please call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755, or contact California Retina Associates online to schedule a hypertensive retinopathy examination at our San Diego locations today.