When an ophthalmologist beams an intense light in his patient’s eye, he’s seeking more than just vision problems.
He’s searching for hints indicating the results of high blood pressure, or hypertension. What he discovers could help stop heart attacks, strokes and other serious health problems that go beyond the eye.
“We can see changes in the eyes triggered by deeper health issues, like vascular problems caused by diabetic issues or hypertension,” said an ophthalmologist. “The blood vessels in the retina can become constricted as well as hard, affecting blood flow and thus affecting vision. They’ll press on each other and also cross each other, like two hoses in a restricted room.
” When it gets really bad, we’ll see some of the capillaries or veins and arteries begin to leak. We’ll see some haemorrhaging as a consequence, which can create a whole range of vision problems.”
Vision symptoms might not show up for years. Yet inevitably, high blood pressure can result in hypertensive retinopathy, a not so mild problem, and blood vessel damage causing obscured vision or loss of vision, which of course is serious business. Choroidopathy, a build-up of fluid under the retina that can distort or hinder vision, again, not to be taken lightly. Optic neuropathy, a blood flow blockage that can destroy nerve cells, which is usually irrecoverable and can cause vision loss.
Likewise, high blood pressure might not reveal itself for years before causing a heart attack or stroke, which gains its grim description as the “Silent Killer.”
That is why detecting high blood pressure early so the treatment and lifestyle changes can start well in time – as well as treating it with diet, exercise and also medications – is critical, and also why physicians claim that eye doctors are on the front lines of the battle, being often the first to detect these issues.
“Sometimes individuals will certainly state, ‘I’m only here to get my eyeglasses, why are you examining me for other things? Why are you examining my blood pressure?”. “We try to teach them about the unique opportunity we need to take a look at these blood vessels in the eye.”
A research reporter highlighted this point. Scientists checked about 2,900 patients with hypertension for hypertensive retinopathy and then tracked them for an average of 13 years. They found that those with a mild kind of condition had a 35% greater risk of stroke. That increased risk jumped to 137% for those with moderate or serious hypertensive retinopathy.
Although even more research is required to verify the findings about stroke risk, it is the important function of eye doctors to educate people about the need to control blood pressure.
“You’re not just a pair of eyeballs walking into an exam space for things you assume you already know about your eyes and health. We need to consider the complete individual and the whole picture for the examination to really yield its optimum results. These are points that can affect the patient’s lives substantially, and we have a responsibility for their overall health.”
But this doesn’t mean that every medical examination has to begin with a high blood pressure examination, as well as every clinic doesn’t have a machine to measure it yourself.
Eye doctors claim that many people would certainly be amazed at the number of their patients that rarely see another doctor, or if they do, they don’t consistently follow clinical guidance or don’t take their high blood pressure medication regularly.
“Some patients do not opt for a routine check-up every year, instead they inform us, ‘Look, I just do not like consulting doctors.’ Yet their eyes are a problem, so they’ll approach us, and a lot of health issues which would otherwise have been ignored get revealed.”
Recognizing the risks of high blood pressure, eye doctors say, keeps them observant.
“It’s so vital because of the silent nature of this problem, as it progresses silently, eroding your health in the process,” the doctor claimed. “Patients can really feel completely fine without any signs or apparent symptoms; however, high blood pressure has a cumulative effect and if it goes unchecked over years, it’s going to cause damage later in life.”