Hypertensive retinopathy is essentially damage to the retina of the eye caused by hypertension. The diagnosis of of hypertensive retinopathy is made when a physician examines the eye with an ophthalmoscope, and finds arteries in the retina very narrow. Often, there are no symptoms prior to the diagnosis. On the other hand, some patients may come to their doctors office complaining of mild problems with their vision. This is why it is very important to have your blood pressure checked on a regular/routine medical examination. Unfortunately, many doctors do not examine the eyes with the ophthalmoscope.
The eye is one of the target organs that can be easily checked. When an internist or a family practitioner performs a physical exam and finds very narrow arteries in the retina, the patient should be sent immediately to an ophthalmologist for a complete exam of the eyes. Chronic headaches can be one of the symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy, even without a history of high blood pressure.
Again, the most important treatment for hypertensive retinopathy is to prevent it in the first place! Other risk factors which increases the possibility of this disease is high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and family history. Regular physical examinations are crucial.