Hypertensive retinopathy occurs in some people who have high blood pressure (called hypertension). Hypertensive retinopathy is damage to the retina from high blood pressure.
Hypertensive retinopathy is usually diagnosed during a routine eye exam because most patients do not experience any signs or symptoms of the disease. If the patient has hypertensive retinopathy, tiny areas of the retina will appear pale or white because they are not receiving enough blood. Bleeding caused by broken blood vessels may also be visible. In some cases, the macula or optic nerve may also be swollen.