Chronic high blood pressure increases glaucoma risk

9 January 2015

A new study has provided further insight into the relationship between long-term high blood pressure and glaucoma.

Published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), the research suggests that chronic hypertension should be looked at when looking for signs of the eye condition.

Glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, is due to a build up of pressure inside the eye, which then pushes back against blood trying to enter the eye, resulting in vision loss.

Dr Bang Bui from the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne, said that although previous studies have shown a link between high blood pressure and glaucoma, the reasons for this have been unclear.

It was assumed that high blood pressure could help counteract the high eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma, but more recent studies suggest that it only protects young patients.
One theory to explain this is that any benefit from high blood pressure is lost as damage to blood vessels from hypertension becomes more prevalent.

Dr Bui said: "It seems that hypertension might damage the blood vessels in the eye so that they can't compensate for changes in blood flow when eye pressure increases."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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