Hypertension and Eye Diseases: Stress Linked to Blindness
Dr. Deependra V. SinghThe Chief Vitreo - Retinal Surgeon at Eye-Q Super-Specialty Eye Hospitals, Gurgaon and Sheetal Hospital & Eye Institute. I intensively trained for advanced vitreo-retinal surgery and management of medical retinal disorders during his three years fellowship and one year of research associated with AIIMS. Recipient of ORA – Best Senior Resident at AIIMS and Rezangala award for social service from Govt. of Haryana.
There is no denying the fact that life is hectic for people all over the world. Whether it is an executive in a multinational or a child studying for his examinations, stress overpowers all. They say that stress is mother of all diseases - it can cause heart diseases, kidney failure and even nervous breakdown. What is hardly talked about is the eye related damages that stress can lead to.
Very few would know that constantly High Blood Pressure or better known as essential hypertension can put us at a higher risk of developing Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO). RVO, a disease that would affect 4 out of 1000 people, can be considered as a heart attack or stroke selectively affecting the retina; the most important and sensitive part of our eyes. The condition can result in blurring of vision and without treatment can progress to total loss of vision by repeated bleeding into the eye. The past decade has seen so many advancements in management of RVO including injections, lasers and surgery, which allow prevention of blindness from this disease in vast majority of these patients. However primary prevention by getting your blood pressure regularly checked and controlled by adequate measures is most desirable action for preventing the problem of RVO in community.
How is Stress linked to RVO?
Eyes are the most sensitive part of the body. Hypertension induced by stress could cause vision loss and blindness, if left untreated. High blood pressure doesn’t only affect your heart but it also disrupts the vessels that supply blood to the eyes, forming clots and damaging them. Profuse bleeding in the eyes and unattended high blood pressure could develop retinal vein occlusion (RVO). RVO, a disease that would affect 4 out of 1000 people, is an attack or stroke selectively affecting the retina. The condition results in blurring of vision and without treatment can progress to total loss of vision by repeated bleeding into the eye.
Eye problems arising from Hypertension are not emphasised enough in the society and thus, people are unaware of the physical and emotional damage their eyes can incur. In order to overcome these challenges, people need to acknowledge these underlying effects of stress they are living under and bring in a few changes. It begins at home as well as workplace but it doesn’t end there - it is a continuous process of better living, healthy eating and rigourous exercising. Everyone can save their eyes from hallows of blindness by addressing the issues in their lives and reducing the level of stress.
Prevention and Treatment for RVO:
Fortunately, the past decade has seen advancements in management of RVO including injections, lasers and surgery, which allow prevention of blindness from this disease in vast majority of the patients. However, getting blood pressure regularly checked and controlled by adequate measures is the primary action for preventing the problem of RVO in community. The only way to prevent the damage is by controlling the blood pressure and reducing the stress in your life. Demanding jobs, frantic schedules, sedentary lifestyles are just the tip of the iceberg - the pressure is tremendous and it is pinning everyone down.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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