A new study reports the vessels in the eyes may be the window to detecting future hypertension as the retina appears to narrow before blood pressure exceeds normal range.
For this study, researchers used special cameras to photograph the retinas of more than 3,500 people. Most of the participants were 49 years or older. Researchers also measured the blood pressure of the patients and categorized them as normal, high-normal, mild hypertension or severe hypertension.
Five years later the participants underwent another examination. According to researchers 390 of the patients had developed severe hypertension and they say people with narrow retinal vessels are twice as likely to develop severe hypertension in five years as compared to people with wider vessel openings.
Researchers conclude saying that based on their findings of this study, visible changes in the eye may precede the development of severe hypertension. They say this sign could be a more stable measure of risk than other measures that can vary over time.