Timely Treatment is Imperative for Hypertensive Retinopathy
Hypertensive retinopathy is an ocular condition that develops due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. Many patients may live with hypertensive retinopathy for extended periods of time without any symptoms. Untreated, however, this condition can lead to serious damage to the retina and your vision. Fortunately, it can be easily diagnosed during an eye exam.
At Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons, in Garnerville, NY, our vision specialists are dedicated to providing accurate, timely eye care that protects your vision and preserves your quality of life. With an expansive, knowledgeable team, we can personalize your treatment, from conservative methods to surgical procedures.
What Is Hypertensive Retinopathy?
Hypertensive retinopathy is a secondary condition that occurs in patients who suffer from chronic hypertension or high blood pressure. Patients who also suffer from diabetes are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can affect the retina. The retina is the tissue at the back of the eye that contains photoreceptor cells that send signals to the visual cortex of the brain. High blood pressure can impede this process as it causes the blood vessels in the retina to harden and thicken, preventing proper blood flow.
Many patients do not experience any noticeable signs until hypertensive retinopathy has become severe. However, certain symptoms are often seen in association with the condition, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Sudden vision loss
- Double vision and headaches
- Bursting of a blood vessel
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule an exam as soon as possible. Left untreated, hypertensive retinopathy can have serious consequences.
Diagnosing Hypertensive Retinopathy
To diagnose hypertensive retinopathy, we will need to closely evaluate the retina for:
- Leaking blood vessels
- Narrowing of the retinal arteries
- Changes in the blood vessel walls
- Arteries that have crossed over the veins
One of our doctors will perform a comprehensive eye exam that may include dilating the eye and evaluating its health with an ophthalmoscope, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fluorescein angiography.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Without treatment, hypertensive retinopathy can lead to irreversible retinal damage. As such, timely treatment and preventive measures are imperative. Treatment options include:
- High Blood Pressure Medication
- Oral medication is often used to help control your blood pressure and is usually the first line of defense as it can prevent or minimize the condition.
- Steroids or anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications can be injected into the eye to prevent swelling and preserve vision.
- Laser Treatment
- In some cases, laser treatment may be recommended. This can help prevent retinal detachment in advanced stages of hypertensive retinopathy.
Our knowledgeable specialists can help you determine the best treatment method for your circumstances to preserve your vision.
Protect Your Vision
For most patients, an exam every two years is sufficient. However, if you are suffering vision loss or other concerning symptoms it is highly recommended that you visit us as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us at (845) 947-2240 to schedule a consultation. Our doctors are dedicated to providing the finest vision care and can provide you with a full spectrum of treatment.