Vision Loss and High Blood Pressure

Updated:Sep 11,2014

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How does high blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, cause vision loss?

  • HBP can strain the vessels in the eyes and the optic nerve.
    High blood pressure can place a strain on the blood vessels in the eyes. HBP can cause the blood vessels to either narrow or bleed when they are subjected to too much blood pressure force. Also, the optic nerve may swell, reducing the ability to see well.
  • Untreated HBP can cause permanent vision problems.
    Using an opthalmoscope, a healthcare professional can look at the network of tiny capillaries on the retina to evaluate the condition of the blood vessels in the eyes. Managing blood pressure is the only way to treat hypertensive retinopathy. HBP damage is cumulative, so the longer it goes untreated, the higher the likelihood of permanent damage.
  • HBP can cause a stroke, which may lead to brain damage causing vision loss.
    High blood pressure can lead to stroke, which, in turn, can impair the optic nerve or damage the area of the brain responsible for processing images.

This content was last reviewed on 08/04/2014.