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February 28, 1972

Hypertension and Blindness

JAMA. 1972;219(9):1212-1213. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190350048024

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To the Editor.—  An oculist's note might be useful in completing the picture of dire consequences resulting from the nontreatment of hypertension. Please refer to the EDITORIAL and article in The Journal issue of Nov 15, 1971.Each year I see about six or eight patients partially blinded by complications of hypertension, usually either by retinal vessel occlusion with permanent damage to central vision, or by stroke affecting an occipital lobe.Most of these patients have had periodic physical examination, but prior to their visual insult received no therapy or work-up for previously recognized hypertension.In my practice, more patients are thus blinded by complications of systemic hypertension than by treatable ocular hypertension (glaucomas).These visual consequences, added to the other more widely acknowledged complications of neglected hypertension, make an imperative case for conscientious care of such patients from the time the disease is first detected.