This Sunday, we mark World Health Day, a day to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7, 1948. Every year, the WHO chooses a theme with global public health significance; and this year’s theme is high blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, you are probably familiar with the litany of major health problems it can create. But did you know that besides leaving you vulnerable to heart disease, heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure can cause eye disease and even blindness?
High blood pressure may lead to hypertensive retinopathy, a serious disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye.
It can also result in glaucoma, a degenerative eye condition whereby your optic nerve cells are damaged by excess fluid pressure in the eyeball. Next to diabetes, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in North America.
While high blood pressure can damage your vision, it is also one of the most preventable health conditions. Watch your salt intake; exercise regularly; de-stress your life where possible; and see your physician regularly. Besides hypertension, a number of other factors can affect your eye health, including age, ethnicity, family history, and past eye injuries.
We do not presume to offer medical advice, but here’s a tried and true tip: you can look after your own vision by scheduling a visit with an eye care professional today!
Hard to believe but true: In 2008, approximately 40 percent of the world’s adults aged 25 and over had raised blood pressure! Check out what that global statistic looks like on the WHO’s interactive map.