Diseases that affect the body, also affect the eyes. Retinal vascular disease affects the blood vessels in the eyes and can be related to other diseases that affect the vascular health throughout the body. High blood pressure, for example, can weaken the blood vessels in the eyes because of the intense pressure. Diabetes and hardening of the arteries can also cause the blood vessels within the eye to deteriorate. As the small vessels weaken, they can begin to leak and harden over time, causing blood flow to diminish within the eye. This can eventually result in irreversible vision loss and other damage to the eyes.
Ocular ischemic syndrome, aneurysms, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma are just a few of the vascular diseases that can affect the eye. Diabetes, in particular, weakens both the blood vessels and the nerves, which can eventually result in vision loss and macular degeneration. Intense pressure caused by blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the eye can also lead to damage. When conditions like glaucoma are left untreated, the intense pressure that continues to build can damage the optic nerve, cornea, and other parts of the eye. In the beginning, a person may not realize that these health conditions are affecting their eyes. Over time, however, blurred vision, floaters, and eye pain may cause problems.
Imaging techniques like ultrasounds and fluorescein angiography can both be used to detect problems within the eye. Ultrasounds use sound waves to produce images that help doctors detect pressure in the eye. Fluorescein angiography uses a photographic technique to produce similar results. The difference between the two is that the angiography technique focuses more on the blood vessels and the pressure within the vessel walls. Ultrasounds show abnormalities in other areas of the eye, especially along the retina and optic nerve. Imaging techniques offer doctors the ability to look within the eye to determine if pressure is present and if it has caused any type of damage or potential injury to the eye.