The eye in hypertension

Lancet. 2007 Feb 3;369(9559):425-35. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60198-6.


Hypertension has a range of effects on the eye. Hypertensive retinopathy refers to retinal microvascular signs that develop in response to raised blood pressure. Signs of hypertensive retinopathy are frequently seen in adults 40 years and older, and are predictive of incident stroke, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality--independently of traditional risk factors. Hypertension is also a major risk factor for the development of other retinal vascular diseases, such as retinal vein and artery occlusion, and ischaemic optic neuropathy. High blood pressure increases the risk of both development of diabetic retinopathy and its progression. Adequate control of blood pressure has been proven in randomised clinical trials to reduce vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy. Finally, hypertension has been implicated in the pathogenesis of glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Recognition of the ocular effects of blood pressure could allow physicians to better manage patients with hypertension, and to monitor its end-organ effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Neuropathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Glaucoma / etiology*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Retinal Diseases / classification
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors