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Overview

Hypertensive Retinopathy: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

What is the Hypertensive Retinopathy? How is the Hypertensive Retinopathy treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the Hypertensive Retinopathy?

The retina is the small layer on the back of the human eyes that can transform the light into nerve messages, which are sent to the brain. Therefore, the retina is a crucial part of vision and any damage to the same can cause people to go blind. People suffering from high blood pressure are at a greater risk of damaging their retina.

This is because the high blood pressure thickens the walls of the veins carrying blood to the retina. This in turn causes the veins to become thinner, depriving the retina from the amount of blood needed. This is the primary link between the high blood pressure and the hypertensive retinopathy.

People suffering from the disorder may experience swelling in the eyes, reduced vision, and bursting of a blood vessel. However, since the disorder only occurs along with hypertension, people seek to treat the underlying cause rather than treat the damage to the retina. Apart from the medications, patients suffering from hypertensive retinopathy should lead an active life and maintain a healthy body weight

Prolonged high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, being overweight, alcohol consumption and heart disease can put a person at greater risk of hypertensive retinopathy.

How is the Hypertensive Retinopathy treatment done?

After the diagnosis of the disorder, doctors will also try to determine the grade of the retinopathy. This disease can be classified into 4 distinct groups. Grade 1 is assigned to those retinopathy cases that are mild. In such cases, the artery carrying blood to the retina is not too constricted. Grade 2 is similar to the initial grade, but the constriction of the artery will be more severe. Grade 3 and Grade 4 are serious forms of the hypertensive retinopathy.

If you suffer from Grade 4 of the disease, your vision may be severely affected and your eyes may become swollen. Treatment mainly looks to reduce the hypertension that is causing the retinopathy and not the retinopathy itself. Blood pressure regulating medications may be prescribed. Drugs such as beta blockers, diuretics and ACE inhibitors are common

In extreme cases, people may damage their eyes permanently as a result of the disorder. However, such cases are rare and most people bring their blood pressure levels down prior to this. Doctors also suggest lifestyle and dietary changes along with the medication.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People who suffer from high blood pressure and have been suffering from the same for quite a while, run the risk of developing hypertensive retinopathy. If such a person experiences dizziness and swelling in the eyes, they should visit the doctor. However, since the treatment looks to reduce the high blood pressure levels, any person suffering from hypertension is qualified for the same treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who have very slight hypertension should not seek treatment the treatment. Additionally, people with normal blood pressure will never develop hypertensive retinopathy, which means that these people should also not seek the treatment for the same.

Are there any side effects?

Hypertension drugs are used to bring the high blood pressure under control, which would also treat the hypertensive retinopathy. These drugs have certain side effects, which include diarrhea, cough, constipation, headache, erectile disorders and weakness. Diuretics can lead to excess urination, which means you would need to stay in the bathroom longer every day.

Beta blockers can decrease the force with which the heart beats. However, these medications can lead to symptoms similar to asthma, depression, cold hands and feet and even insomnia. If you face any issue with any of the medications prescribed, visit a physician and report the problems that you face.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Patients need to maintain a healthy body weight even after the retinopathy is cured. Since hypertension can never be cured, patients will need to continue taking the medications to keep the levels under control. This should also help keep the retinopathy in check. However, a balanced and healthy diet should also be maintained to further reduce the risk of a relapse.

How long does it take to recover?

Patients need to maintain a healthy body weight even after the retinopathy is cured. Since hypertension can never be cured, patients will need to continue taking the medications to keep the levels under control. This should also help keep the retinopathy in check. However, a balanced and healthy diet should also be maintained to further reduce the risk of a relapse.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Hypertension medication costs around Rs. 500 each month. However, treatment is a continuous process and needs to be maintained throughout the rest of life. The dosage of the medicine may be altered by the doctor, which may also change the cost incurred.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment does not result in permanent solution. If patients stop taking the medications that keep the blood pressure in check, hypertensive retinopathy may recur.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Photocoagulation and cryotherapy are two alternate treatments that people with hypertensive retinopathy can try out. A cryoprobe is inserted into the eye, which freezes the abnormal blood vessels from growing in cryotherapy. If this process fails to rectify the issue with the blood vessel, patients can also try the photocoagulation method. A laser is used to rectify the abnormal blood vessel growth in such a case.

Popular Questions & Answers

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