Hypertensive retinopathy is a condition which affects the retina as a result of uncontrolled high blood pressure. The retina can become damaged because the walls of the small blood vessels in the retina become thicker to withstand the increased pressure of the blood flowing through them. The thickening of the vessels results in the narrowing of the vessel itself. As the vessel becomes more narrow, blood is not able to reach all portions of the retina. As the retinopathy progresses, blood and fluid can leak within the retina causing a decrease in vision.
Treatment is centered around lowering the blood pressure. Severe high blood pressure is life threatening and treatment may be needed to prevent vision loss and avoid other complications, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.