Q:

How does high blood pressure affect your eyes?

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Quick Answer

High blood pressure strains the blood vessels in the eye and the optic nerve, according to the American Heart Association. It has the potential to cause permanent vision changes. High blood pressure also causes strokes, and the resulting damage to the brain can cause loss of vision.

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How does high blood pressure affect your eyes?
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Full Answer

High blood pressure causes heart, kidney and vision problems, according to WebMD. Doctors usually discover hypertensive retinopathy through routine vision checks. As the doctor looks inside the eye, he might see narrowed blood vessels, fluid that oozes from the blood vessels, or bleeding in the back of the eye. Patients sometimes complain of vision changes or headaches.

The eye contains many delicate blood vessels. These supply oxygen and nutrients to the structures necessary for vision. Hypertension affects these blood vessels like any other in the body, according to Mayo Clinic.

As fluid leaks from the blood vessels, Mayo Clinic indicates it sometimes builds under the retina and causes scarring. These scars cause distortion of the images the eyes send to the brain and sometimes impair the vision.

High blood pressure increases the chance of stroke. Strokes affect many different parts of the brain and have a chance of impairing the function of the optic nerve, reports the American Heart Association. A stroke can also damage the part of the brain that processes the vision signals.

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