How can eye specialists determine the difference between diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy?

Exam and testing. Dilated fundus exam--diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy typically have different appearances, however they can appear similar with bleeding and ischemic areas of the retina. Areas requiring treatment to save vision (other than improving the underlying disease) can be found using imaging and angiogram diagnostic tests.
See below. Though they can sometimes look similar, an eye doctor (especially a retina specialist), can tell the difference by doing a dilated retinal exam sometimes also with ancillary testing like Fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography.

Related Questions

Please let me know if there is any difference between diabetic retinopathy and hypertensive retinopathy?

Yes, big difference. Aside from being caused by 2 separate diseases, eye manifestations are distinct as well. Hypertensive eye changes occur from chronic affect of high pressure on the small arterioles in eye tissues, may lead to vascular occlusion. Diabetic eye disease affects the smaller capillary vessels, causing leakage and/or blockage of blood. If advanced, diabetic disease may require laser treatment or surgery. Read more...

Eye doctor says im at risk for stroke because of hypertensive retinopathy?

Absolutely. Theres the old saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. It's very true that may diseases are diagnosed by findings in the eye. If your eye dr. Saw changes in your retina caused by hypertension, it definitely raises your possibility of stroke. With 750, 000 strokes happening each year, you need prompt evaluation and treatment. See your family md as soon as you can. Good luck! Read more...
Yes. Your hypertension needs to be controlled better. Htn is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and kidney disease. See stroke .Org and heart.Org. Read more...

How can you determine the grade of your hypertensive retinopathy when your ophthalmologist's report doesn't specify?

Hypertension. The hypertension has to produce changes in the retinal vessels and this can be seen on a dilated fundus exam. This is a reflection of the acuteness or chronicity of the uncontrolled or untreated hypertension. Ask for an answer on your next examination. Read more...

Does GFR of 54 for 3months, =54%kidney function? I have hypertensive retinopathy, on bp Meds. Eating right. High Stress job. Any Suggestions?

This is serious. Diet and "job stress" are actually unlikely to have much to do with kidney disease, and GFR estimates are only semi-scientific. However, if you're got hypertensive retinopathy, or if you have any abnormalities on urinalysis or testing of urinary concentrating ability, it'd be worth a nephrology consult. Hypertension is both caused by and damages the kidneys, typically. I'd get seen. Read more...

I have hypertensive retinopathy so do people with this often have sclerosis and vascular changes to other blood vessels as well?

Yes. The small blood vessels in the eye are sensitive "barometers" of hypertensive disease, and reflect the systemic changes seen in other blood vessels elsewhere. Larger blood vessels like the carotid, cardiac and aorta arteries develop atherosclerosis, whereas the smaller retinal, renal, ; cerebral develop arteriolar sclerosis. Blood pressure control is essential for organ protection. Read more...
Yes. Hypertensive retinopathy is a indication that the hyperstension is causing similar changes in other organ systems: heart, kidney, legs and brain. Read more...