While the majority of adults over 40 frequently visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist, many are unaware of how much our eyes may reveal about our health. The eyes are truly the windows to your soul! According to the American Heart Association, before most individuals are even aware they have high blood pressure, the eyes may be one of the first parts of the body to exhibit symptoms.
Only half of the estimated 1.3 billion individuals who have hypertension (high blood pressure) around the globe are aware of it or have had a diagnosis. Due to the lack of symptoms or warning indications associated with high blood pressure, many people may be unaware they have it. It is known as “the quiet killer” for this reason.
How does high blood pressure develop?
It takes time for high blood pressure to develop. Risk factors such as having a family history of high blood pressure as well as other illnesses including diabetes and renal disease can lead to high blood pressure. It frequently occurs in individuals who have spent years leading a bad lifestyle of an unhealthy diet, insufficient exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake.
High blood pressure increases the chance of developing heart disease, including heart attacks and heart failure, stroke, renal disease, vascular dementia, as well as eye issues, if it is not controlled. This is why it’s critical to identify high blood pressure early; doing so may be possible through routine eye exams.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
There are several methods you may use to determine if you have high blood pressure. You can use a home testing kit, visit a drugstore, or have it examined by your doctor. Typically, a stethoscope, an arm cuff, or an automated arm cuff that may be used at home are used for this. Checking your blood pressure every few years is recommended; more frequent checks may be required based on your lifestyle choices and family history. However, your Sunshine Coast ophthalmologist may be able to identify high blood pressure symptoms before your doctor does.
How does an Ophthalmologist identify high blood pressure?
Many elements of the eyes, including the tiny blood vessels, may be seen by peering inside the eye using a slit-lamp (a specialised microscope used during an eye exam) or taking a retinal snapshot. In order to determine if a person is likely to have high blood pressure, an ophthalmologist may be able to measure the diameter of blood vessels during an eye examination.
These blood vessels are extremely sensitive to changes in blood pressure and high blood pressure can damage these tiny blood vessels, causing blurry vision. This damage may cause red regions of haemorrhaging in the eyes making this a strong indicator of elevated blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure may experience an accumulation of fluid under their retina, which can harm the health of the eyes. High blood pressure is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and other diseases.
Our eyes are often also referred to as ‘the window to the brain’ as the blood circulation of the eye and brain are similar and our eyes are created from brain tissue. Because of this, alterations in the blood vessels of the eye can serve as an indicator of not only high blood pressure but also potential problems in the brain and other parts of the body.
Although your ophthalmologist may notice these signs in your blood vessels, this is not a diagnosis as changes in the blood vessels may be caused by other disorders such as diabetes; a GP can confirm any suspicions of high blood pressure.
Ophthalmologists will examine a patient’s eyes to detect signs of high blood pressure, indicators may be fluid accumulation (which might result in edema), inflammation, and blood vessel malfunction. To determine who has a higher risk of getting high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, they can evaluate the diameter of the blood vessels in the eyes. To better detect risk factors for certain eye disorders – including high blood pressure – your ophthalmologist may additionally enquire about your health during an examination.
Although regular eye exams don’t replace regular medical visits, because patients are frequently asymptomatic, ophthalmologists are frequently the first-place high blood pressure is discovered. Your ophthalmologist may also be able to see symptoms of other conditions, such as diabetes, which can also potentially harm the eyes.
Where Best Practice Eyecare comes in…
At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist sunshine coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO , a comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology sunshine coast. Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon and ophthalmologist sunshine coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and flashes & floaters.