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How eye health can indicate blood pressure issues

Liz Blamire

23rd August 2022

The eyes are one of the first parts of the body that indicate that someone has high blood pressure, often known as 'the silent killer'.

This article in The Conversation - How your eyes could help diagnose high blood pressure - explains the important role that optometrists have in recognising hypertension in adults.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is characterised as a blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg or higher. Causes of hypertension include:

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Not doing enough exercise
  • Eating too much salt (British Heart Foundation)

Overtime, hypertension contributes to damage across the organs of the body, including the eyes. In order to diagnose someone with high blood pressure by looking at a their eyes, optometrists will look for:

  • Fluid build-up in the eye which may be causing swelling
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Blood vessel dysfunction

In terms of eye-related symptoms of hypertension, individuals may experienced blurred vision, which is attributable to the damaged blood vessels of the eye.

Understanding blood pressure

Liz Blamire

Liz is the current tutor2u subject lead for Health and Social Care. She is a former NHS midwife, who has worked in community, birth centre and acute hospital settings. Liz is an SSAT Accredited Lead Practitioner, who has taught Health and Social Care in FE and secondary schools, where she was a successful HOD. Liz is an experienced senior examiner and author.

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