Hypertensive Retinopathy

Vision Preception

Rebecca Richardson

Hypertensive Retinopathy

"Hypertensive retinopathy is damage to the retina from high blood pressure. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back part of the eye. It changes light and images that enter the eye into nerve signals that are sent to the brain" (Lusby, 2014).

Normal Vision

The organs involved with "normal" vision include the eye, the optic nerve, and the brain. The parts of the eye include the cornea, pupil, lens, retina, vitreous body, rods and cones, and the optic nerve. When light enters the eye through the pupil, the cornea a transparent covering on the outside of the eye helps in focusing the light on the retina. The light then travels through the lens which also helps in focusing light on the retina. The lens unlike the cornea is able to change shape with the help of ciliary muscles leading to auto-focusing (Goldstein, 2013, p. 23). The light then focuses on the retina of the eye, in some situations the lens is responsible for accommodation in order for focusing (Goldstein, 2013, p. 24). Rods and cones within the retina then convert the light energy into electrical signals which are sent to the brain via the optic nerve (Goldstein, 2013).

How vision is processed

Vision begins as light entering through the pupil. The cornea and the lens are responsible for helping in focus the light onto the retina. The rods and cones within the retina then turn the light waves into electrical signals which are sent via the optical nerve to the brain (Goldstein, 2013).

Hypertensive retinopathy

When a person is suffering from Hypertensive retinopathy they usually do not suffer or show signs from changes in the vision until changes are in the advanced stages (Garg, 2014). Hypertensive retinopathy is caused by high blood pressure which can cause damage to the retina. Abnormalities come from high blood pressure causing blockage in the small arteries, blockage of the retinal blood vessels (sometimes bleeding from the retinal blood vessels) and inflammation in the optic nerve (Retinopathy).

Perceiving Objects and Scenes

Perception occurs through organization, grouping and segregation. There are many theories on how the brain actually perceives the light after it enters the eyes and travels to the brain. One of those is Gestalt. Gestalts approach is based on several principles including contours, continuity, and simplicity (Goldstien, 2013).

The effects/Symptoms of Hypertensive Retinopathy on Vision

Blurred vision

Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes

Black spots

Flashing lights

Difficulty reading or seeing detailed work

Blurred or dim vision, sometimes coming on suddenly

Blind spots

Distorted shapes

Reduced visual sharpness


Treatment for Hypertensive Retinopathy

Treatment for Hypertensive retinopathy begins with treating the hypertension (lowering blood pressure). "Most changes in the retina caused by hypertensive retinopathy disappear after blood pressure has been lowered. Some signs of damage can remain" (Retinopathy).


Garg, S. (2014). Hypertensive Retinopathy - Eye Disorders. Retrieved January 13, 2016, from https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/retinal- disorders/hypertensive-retinopathy

Goldstein, E. (2013). Sensation and perception (Ninth ed.). Centage Learning.

Lusby, F. (2014). High blood pressure and eye disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 13, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000999.htm

Retinopathy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options. (n.d.). Retrieved January 13, 2016, from http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/retinopathy.html