What is bad for the heart is bad for the eyes



We all know that high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are bad for our heart. A study by Irish and Canadian researchers shows that these health conditions can damage our eyes as well.

According to a recent report in the Archives of Ophthalmology

“The two conditions appear to increase one’s risk for retinal vein occlusion, a condition that leads to vision loss. It results from one or more veins carrying blood from the eye to the heart becoming blocked and causing bleeding or fluid build-up.”

The study found that high blood pressure increases the risk of developing retinal vein occlusion by more than 3.5 times while high cholesterol levels increases it 2.5-fold.

What is retinal vein occlusion?

Retinal vein occlusion is a blockage in the blood supply from the retina — the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. Veins of the retina can become blocked by a blood clot. Retinal vein occlusion also can occur when the retinal arteries put pressure on the retinal vein.

according to the Medline Health Encyclopedia.

The pressure on the retina is linked to several disorders, including diabetes, glaucoma, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, and blood clot. Symptoms of retinal vein occlusion are blurring or vision loss in all or part of one eye.

The study analysed results of 21 studies previously published involving a total of 28,646 patients. The findings show that 63.6% of those with retinal vein occlusion also had concurrent conditions of hypertension. In addition, 35.1% of these patients have high cholesterol levels.

It is therefore important that

“…those who treat patients with hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol should be as concerned with the health of the person’s eyes as they are with the health of the person’s cardiovascular system.”

Remember, when we do something that is detrimental to our health, it’s not only our heart that is at stake, it’s our eyes as well. Our sense of sight is very important and loss of vision is a major disability that can drastically affect our quality of life.

Want to know more about cholesterol and blood pressure? The American Heart Association can give you a sample of the brochure Understanding and Controlling Cholesterol for free. The Hypertension Primer is also available for free. A resource post from last month gives some tips on blood pressure awareness.

Original Article Source:

O’Mahoney P et al. Retinal Vein Occlusion and Traditional Risk Factors for Atherosclerosis. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(5):692-699.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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