Pittwater Life September 2017 Issue

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Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing

High blood pressure: the

possible effect on eyes

High blood

pressure

can damage

blood vessels in the

retina – this is called

hypertensive retinopathy.

The retina or film layer of

the eye has infinite delicate

blood vessels that can be

affected by various medical

conditions and eye diseases.

Detrimental changes in

the retinal blood vessels

can occur when high blood

pressure is not controlled,

which may cause a loss

of vision that can become

permanent. The higher the

blood pressure and the

longer it has been high, the

more severe the damage.

Symptoms may include

double vision or dim

vision, headaches, visual

disturbances and

sometimes sudden

vision loss. Sudden

symptoms can be a

medical emergency.

Unfortunately,

most people with

hypertensive retinopathy do

not have symptoms until late

in the disease.

However, some may report

decreased or blurred vision

and others experience

headaches.

Some of the signs a

comprehensive retinal eye

examination will detect

include retinal arteriolar

narrowing, arterio-venous

crossing changes, retinal

with Rowena Beckenham

haemorrhages and exudates,

retinal microaneurysms,

macular and optic disc

oedema.

Your optometrist should be

asking you for a full medical

history in relation to current

medications and any personal

or family history of high

blood pressure and refer back

to general practitioners for

review if signs are detected in

the eyes.

Comment supplied by Rowena Beckenham, of

Beckenham Optometrist in Avalon (9918 0616). Rowena

has been involved in all facets of independent private

practice optometry in Avalon for 16 years, in addition

to working as a consultant to the optometric and

pharmaceutical industry, and regularly volunteering in

Aboriginal eyecare programs in regional NSW.

46 SEPTEMBER 2017

The Local Voice Since 1991

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