Poets say that eyes are the windows to the soul. That may never change, but the more research that comes out about optometry, the more Denver eye doctors there are who claim that eyes are the windows to the body. Recent medical research has associated signs of high blood pressure in retinal imaging to strokes, which will help pave the way for better predicting and preventing these life-threatening events.
Strokes are the world’s second-highest cause of death (first being Ischaemic heart disease, the most common trigger for heart attacks), and they occur when a hemorrhage or blood clot cuts off blood flow to the brain, causing pain and loss of consciousness. Those who escape death rarely escape other common side effects, including; paralysis, impaired speech, vision loss, and some level of permanent brain damage. Risk factors include old age, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco smoking, atrial fibrillation, or a previous stroke, but the biggest factor is exactly what retinal imaging can help detect: high blood pressure.
A new study published in the August edition of the journal Hypertension followed 3000 people with high blood pressure for an average of 13 years. The doctors took periodic retinal images to measure the participants’ hyperintensive retinopathy (retina damage due to high blood pressure), and then ranked the retinopathy as none, mild, or moderate/severe. Eventually, 165 of the 3000 participants suffered strokes, those with mild retinopathy having a 35 percent higher chance, and those with moderate or sever retinopathy having a 137 percent higher chance.
What does this mean? Well, a lot of people have high blood pressure, and not everyone with high blood pressure has a stroke. But with this and similar studies, optometrists can now use retinal imaging and hyperintensive retinopathy to more precisely identify patients at risk of stroke, and get them on a healthier path.
How to use this Information
We here at Vision Care Specialists help you to keep an eye on your eye health, a pioneer in the use of retinal imaging for annual eye health monitoring, our Denver eye doctors understand the connection between your eyes and the rest of your body. For the most comprehensive eye exam in Colorado, consult our Denver optometrists. Schedule your Denver eye exam now! Call us at (303) 991-9600 or set up an appointment online.
Have you or someone you know ever suffered a stroke? How did it change your/their health and lifestyle?