High Blood Pressure and Your Eyes!

Having high blood pressure or hypertension (HTN) can have a serious impact on a persons overall well being along with the overall health of their eyes. It is estimated that approximately 22% of Canadians have hight blood pressure, but that only about half actually receive treatment for it. High blood pressure is considered to be a silent killer, as it often has no symptoms at all.

Elevated blood pressure is defined as having a systolic pressure of greater than 140mmHg or a diastolic pressure of more than 90mmHg. In the vast majority of people, there is no specific cause for their elevated blood pressure, but studies show that high blood pressure is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians and more common in the elderly. High blood pressure is also more likely to develop in people suffering from obesity or diabetes.

If blood pressure is aloud to remain elevated for any length of time, it can start to impact your health

The heart may become larger or weaker, which may lead to heart failure. Heart failure is when the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body

Aneurysms can form in blood vessels. Aneurysms are abnormal bulges or ballooning of an artery wall. Common locations are the brain, legs, stomach and spleen

Blood vessels in the kidneys can start to narrow, leading to kidney failure

Blood vessels can start to narrow throughout the body, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, or kidney failure.

In men, high blood pressure can also cause erectile dysfunction

Blood vessels in the eyes can burst or bleed, which can lead to vision changes or blindness.


  • No symptoms
  • Headaches or Morning Headaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Dizziness
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Chest Pain
  • Flushed or Pale Skin
  • Nausea/Vomiting


  • Papilloedema (swelling of the optic nerve- can cause pain with eye movements or loss of colour vision)
  • Blurred Vision
  • Double Vision


  • Lifestyle 
  • Lose Weigh
  • Quit Smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce Salt intake
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Medications

**There are numerous types of high blood pressure medications on the market today. Only your family physician and yourself can determine the best type of medication for you.

For more information on High Blood Pressure or Hypertension, please visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation. If you are concerned that High Blood Pressure may be affecting your vision, please see your optometrist. Your optometrist has the knowledge and skill to work along with your family physician when managing your blood pressure.