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Hypertensive retinopathy

Hypertensive retinopathy may occur in people suffering from high blood pressure. Sometimes blood pressure is diagnosed as a result of the observation of the eye fundus in an asymptomatic person.

Retinal arteries do not have an elastic lamina nor musculature in order to regulate their flow. Hypertension causes arteriosclerotic changes that reduce the diameter of the arteries. This pushes the pressure up.

This increase in pressure causes a general reduction in the small arteries of the retina, soon more marked locally. The reflection of small arteries changes ("copper wire" at the beginning, then "silver thread"). Crossings between arterioles and venules are also affected. Later on, there appear small hemorrhages, exudates and in more advanced stages, exudates in the form of a macular star. In the end, there is edema of the optical papilla

Fons d´ull d´una persona amb retinopatia hipertensiva

Most patients have no symptoms. Those who do, headache and blurred vision.

The treatment is medical. The most important thing is to control systemic blood pressure and promote good eating habits and life, as well as sports practice.

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