Home » Our Practice » Technology Used by our Office

Technology Used by our Office

Heart Health Monitoring 

      iHealth BP7 Demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c48asbAQQOU 
      iHealth BP7 FAQ: 
http://www.ihealthlabs.com/wireless-blood-pressure-wrist-monitor-feature_33.htm

You may have noticed, at our office, either the technician or even the 
optometrist checks your blood pressure as part of your testing during the 
eye exam. But why? What does blood pressure have to do with your eyes or 
your vision? The answer: a lot!

Almost everyone—the news, our doctors, Dr. Oz’ talk show, our neighbors, 
and our spouses— tell us having high blood pressure can leave you at risk 
for a heart attack. But, high blood pressure can also cause changes in the 
eye that may lead to permanent vision loss. The reason is that the eye is a 
highly vascularized tissue. The retina and optic nerve need a lot of blood 
supply to function perfectly. And where there’s blood vessels, there’s the 
risk for malfunction due to high blood pressure.

If you’ve had your eye exam at our office, you may have undergone retinal 
photos and may remember me pointing out your arteries and veins in the 
retina. If a person has chronic high blood pressure, something called 
Hypertensive Retinopathy may result in these vessels. When this happens, 
blood flow is disrupted. There may be leakage of blood and other fluids 
into the retina, and other portions of the retina may be cut off from blood 
flow and the influx of oxygen. These events carry the risk for permanent 
damage to the retina. Depending on the severity and location of this 
damage, vision loss will be the end result.

In addition, high blood pressure can also lead to a Retinal Vein Occlusion, 
where the pressure in an artery clamps down on a nearby retinal vein. The 
result is that blood already used by the retina can’t be recirculated back 
down to heart. Instead, it leaks from capillaries and pools in the retina. 
Again, the result could be permanent vision loss. The optic nerve may also 
be susceptible to chronic high blood pressure, and damage at this part of 
the eye is just as threatening as the retina.

But, there is an even more valuable reason to check blood pressure. I 
firmly believe the optometrist plays an important role in the overall 
health of an individual. Sometimes, people may see us every 12 months for 
their annual eye exam but only see their primary care physician every three 
years. If I can let a patient know that her blood pressure is elevated, and 
she isn’t being followed for high blood pressure, then the eye exam has now 
served as an entry point for this person to take charge of their overall 
health.