Eye Care for Patients with High Blood Pressure
By Gordon Wong, OD on November 15, 2017
When patients are lucky enough to maintain clear vision throughout their early lifetime, they often believe that routine eye exams are unnecessary. However, any patient can develop eye diseases that may compromise the health and function of the eyes. A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to diagnose common eye conditions so they can be treated before they advance and become more of a problem. In general, it is recommended that patients have a base eye exam at the age of 40, and then continue to schedule routine eye exams once every two years.
Patients who suffer from certain health problems that may impact vision should begin these exams even sooner. High blood pressure is one condition that increases the risk of vision problems. Individuals looking for eye care for patients with high blood pressure can rely on our La Jolla, CA practice, Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect the Eyes?
When high blood pressure is not controlled, it can cause damage to blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the eyes. Specifically, high blood pressure is known to damage the vessels that supply blood to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. When these blood vessels are damaged, it can make it more difficult for the retina to do its job, which is to take in light and send signals to the brain so that images can be processed.
This eye disease is known as hypertensive retinopathy. Although hypertensive retinopathy does not initially cause noticeable symptoms, it can eventually lead to vision loss or complete blindness if it is not treated. At our practice, we can diagnose eye conditions such as hypertensive retinopathy, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
High Blood Pressure and the Importance of Routine Eye Exams
When an eye condition is causing noticeable side effects, it has probably already progressed to its later stages. Routine eye exams allow our doctors to thoroughly examine each part of the eye so that conditions such as hypertensive retinopathy can be diagnosed before they have progressed to the point that the vision has been impacted. Everyone can benefit from routine eye exams, but they are especially important for individuals with high blood pressure.
Although the regular recommendation for individuals without vision problems is to schedule an exam at the age of 40, those who suffer from high blood pressure should have a base exam scheduled sooner. It is typically recommended that an eye exam be scheduled as soon as high blood pressure is diagnosed. After the initial exam, routine eye exams should be scheduled once a year. This allows our doctors to continually monitor the health of the eyes and look for any damage that may be caused by high blood pressure.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is especially important for you to monitor the health of your eyes. To schedule a routine eye exam or learn more about what to expect at a comprehensive eye exam, contact us at your earliest convenience.
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Dr. Wong and his staff have proven to be the best eye doctor that I have ever visited. He is extremely thorough and up-to-date professionally. He gives you plenty of time. I never feel rushed.Kathrine Holladay