Vision loss may seem like something that occurs naturally through aging, but this isn’t always the case. There are many other contributing factors which can harm our vision –and controlling these issues can protect our vision even in our old age.

You’re probably familiar with vision loss because of diabetes but there is another health concern which can affect our vision — it’s hypertension. That’s right, our blood pressure can greatly affect our vision and can lead to hypertensive retinopathy.

What is hypertensive retinopathy?
To understand what is hypertensive retinopathy, it’s important to start with retinopathy. Retinopathy is a condition in the eyes which causes damage to the retina — the part of the eye that senses light. When this damage occurs it can lead to partial or complete vision loss.

Hypertensive retinopathy then is a condition where retinopathy is caused by hypertension — or high blood pressure. High blood pressure over time causes damage to the blood vessels — this can occur anywhere in the body and can lead to heart problems. Bleeding, blockages and thickening of the arteries within the eyes may happen which ultimately affects our vision.

Causes of hypertensive retinopathy
As we mentioned, hypertensive retinopathy occurs with chronic high blood pressure.
So the causes of hypertensive retinopathy are similar to basic causes of hypertension. Some of the causes of hypertension include:

Lack of activity — being overweight
Poor diet — consuming too much processed and fatty foods, salt and sugar.
Difference between diabetic retinopathy and hypertensive retinopathy

Diabetes can also lead to retinopathy, but there are some differences to take note of.

In hypertensive retinopathy, the blood vessels become damaged and may bleed; in diabetic retinopathy the vessels actually deteriorate. Fluid can then collect in the retina leading to swelling which affects sharp vision.
Also, in diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina causing bleeding. These vessels are unstable, whereas in hypertensive retinopathy although the vessels may become damaged they do not move.Lastly, the retina in diabetic retinopathy may separate and a gel can form between the lens and retina which can lead to bleeding and block vision. Not to say that diabetic retinopathy is more severe than hypertensive retinopathy, but as you can tell, much damage can occur to the eye as a whole.


Author's Bio: 

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