As far as your health is concerned, the two times you hear about “pressure” is with blood pressure and eye pressure. An abnormally high blood pressure could lead to heart disease or stokes. An abnormally high eye pressure could lead to vision loss from glaucoma. A logical question is whether or not the two are directly related.
It turns out that the two are related. A 2005 article in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reported on the Beaver Dam study. This is a Wisconsin based long term study following thousands of people in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. The study looked at diastolic (the low number) blood pressure and systolic (the higher number) blood pressure and compared it to the patient’s eye pressure. The results found that for every 10 mm Hg increase in diastolic blood pressure, there was a corresponding 0.6 mm Hg increase in eye pressure. The effects of systolic blood pressure on eye pressure were less. For every 10 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure, there was a 0.3 mm Hg increase in eye pressure.
Is this important? First and foremost you concern should be maintaining a healthy blood pressure. This is something for you and your primary care provider to determine. As for eye pressure, you would have to have a very significant elevation in blood pressure to cause significant vision damage from glaucoma but it could certainly happen.
This is just another reason to keep on top of your general health care as it can affect your eye pressure too. Other potential eye problems from uncontrolled blood pressure include small strokes behind the eye and broken or blocked blood vessels in the eye. Take care of yourself and make your eyes happy too!
Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Eye Physician & Surgeon (Ophthalmologist) practicing at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. She specialized in eye surgery including blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.