PURPOSE OF REVIEW In a society with a steadily increasing population of patients with hypertension, a significant mortality risk factor, it is important that clinicians be cognizant of the changes seen in ophthalmic examination. This paper demonstrates both the acute and chronic stages of the disease. RECENT FINDINGS This paper first presents the history of classifying different stages of hypertensive retinopathy, a condition associated with systemic arterial hypertension, as defined by Keith-Wagener-Barker. The most recent recommendations published in the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee (JNC) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure are also described; this report defines the current status and classification of hypertension in the United States, as well as recommendations for its treatment and management. Finally, disease management strategies and currently accepted treatment options are presented. SUMMARY Since systemic arterial hypertension is a key modifiable risk factor for various diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke, it is crucial that we detect early signs of hypertension to promote better health for our patient population.