How Does Poor Circulation Affect the Eyes?

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Poor Circulation

If you are suffering from poor circulation, this means your blood is not flowing as well as it should, particularly to your hands and feet. Poor circulation can cause a number of diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, varicose veins, stroke, kidney damage and eye problems. Poor circulation is usually caused by your blood vessels becoming blocked by plaque, a build-up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and cell waste. These deposits attach to your arterial walls and increase over time, slowly reducing the flow of blood.


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Symptoms of poor circulation may include a feeling of pins and needles in your hands and feet, coldness in your extremities, cramping in your legs, swelling of legs and feet, dizziness when standing up, blood clots, numbness in your hands and feet, and deteriorating vision. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek medical advice. Your doctor may conduct tests such as blood pressure tests for arms and legs, angiography for the leg arteries and Doppler ultrasound to determine whether your symptoms are caused by poor circulation.

Poor Circulation and Vision

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Poor circulation can seriously affect your eyes and vision. It can cause less serious effects such as dark circles under the eyes and swollen areas of skin around the eyes. The skin in this part of the face is thin. The capillaries beneath the skin around the eyes are small vessels, and if your circulation is poor, red blood cells may gather there. When blood pools in this area, it may cause the fragile blood vessels to break, causing dark bruise-like patches. Deterioration of eyesight is one of the more common complications of poor circulation, which can cause damage to the optic nerve. The medical term for this is arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuritis, which occurs because of an insufficient blood supply. The optic nerve gradually atrophies and eventually dies. This condition can affect people of all ages but is more common in smokers, older people and people who have diabetes. The condition can be treated with a lengthy course of corticosteroids to prevent further damage.

Improving Circulation

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You can improve your circulation and prevent the build-up of arterial plaque by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and making sure your daily diet is low in saturated fat and high in fiber. You also can try a number of alternative therapies to promote healthy circulation, including hydrotherapy, massage, reflexology, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Helpful herbal remedies include garlic, ginger, gingko biloba and rosemary.