Untreated hypertension can cause blindness – Optometrist warns

HEALTHDIGEST– An optometrist, Dr. Chika Ugagu, says prolonged, untreated or mismanaged high blood pressure can lead to blindness.

She explained that with time, high blood pressure that is not properly managed can lead to the destruction of the retinal blood vessels that supply blood to the retina.

Dr. Ugagu explained that the retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. It is located near the optic nerve. The purpose of the retina is to receive light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals to the brain for visual recognition.

According to her, when the blood pressure is high and not managed over time, the retinal wall becomes very thick and the blood flow to the retina is reduced, thereby leading to a decline in the function of the retina.

She further noted that high blood pressure that is not managed could cause the retina blood vessels to burst and leak, adding that this causes blood to get into the eye.

According to her, when blood pressure is not under control, it increases the pressure on the optic nerve.

“If anything happens to the retina or optic nerve that sends signals to the brain, it causes partial blindness and then the full loss of sight,” she warned.

Dr. Ugagu advised hypertensive individuals to ensure that their blood pressure is regulated to avoid preventable blindness and to ensure that they stick to their drug-taking routine to keep their blood pressure in check.