Hypertension

Updated 07 July 2014

Hypertension and your eyes

You may be not be able to detect any outward signs of hypertension yourself, but your doctor can look into your eyes and see whether hypertension has damaged them.

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You may be not be able to detect any outward signs of hypertension yourself, but your doctor can look into your eyes and see whether hypertension has damaged them.

A brief period of very high blood pressure can cause some loss of visual clarity, which generally subsides once the blood pressure level returns to normal. How does it happen?

Hypertension can damage the eyes in a number of ways:

  • It leads to narrowing of the arteries and can result in complete blockage, which can cause loss of vision;
  • It can also lead to damage to the blood vessels in the outside of the eyes, leading to bleeding. This usually clears up once the hypertension itself is treated.

So while the eye isn’t affected as badly as say, the brain or the heart, it can give useful clues into the state of your health. Your doctor may be able to draw important conclusions about whether you have hypertension simply by looking into your eyes.

Read more:
The risk factors of hypertension
Hypertension and fasting

 

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Hypertension expert

Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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