Hypertensive Retinopathy is when there is damage to the thin layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) and retinal circulation due to high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension severity and duration determines the likelihood of developing hypertensive retinopathy. Overtime, the blood vessels swell and leak causing swelling in the retina and in severe cases swelling in the part of the eye that transfers images from the retina (optic nerve) can be seen.
People generally do not experience any symptoms of Hypertensive Retinopathy until into the later stages of the disease. Symptoms may include: double vision, dim vision, headaches, visual disturbances and sometimes, sudden vision loss.
Controlling high blood pressure is the only treatment available for Hypertensive Retinopathy. It is important to not only schedule an eye exam if you are noticing symptoms of Hypertensive Retinopathy but also take preventive measures and schedule annual eye exams and control your blood pressure.