Retinal complications associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) are known as hypertensive retinopathy. Patients with this condition are generally without any visual symptoms though some may experience decreased vision.
When examining the eye, the doctor may find narrowing of the blood vessels in the retina, retinal hemorrhages and other signs of hypertension such as swelling and ischemic areas (areas of poor blood flow). Swelling of the optic nerve may indicate malignant hypertension, a severe form of high blood pressure generally requiring immediate hospitalization and evaluation for the specific cause of the hypertension.
We incorporate a number of tests to evaluate for hypertensive retinopathy. Three of the tests we employ are:
Fluorescein Angiography — This valuable test, which uses a type of dye called fluorescein and a special camera, provides information about the circulatory system and the condition of the back of the eye. It is one of the tests which allows us to evaluate ocular blood flow.
Ophthalmoscopy — A detailed examination of the retina and its structure will be performed.
Optomap — A wide field retinal image that captures more than 80% of your retina in one panoramic image . This image will be used to document the present stage of your disease as well as monitoring the ocular pathology for changes.
Medical management of high blood pressure is the treatment for those diagnosed with hypertensive retinopathy. Patients with an underlying treatable cause are able to be treated appropriately. To protect the patient and maintain proper treatment, follow-up at our office is usually scheduled for every few weeks or months, depending on the individual case.
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