When your intraocular pressure is higher than normal, it is called ocular hypertension, a condition that can cause glaucoma or vision loss. It has no outward signs, but can be diagnosed by an eye-care professional with a simple test.
What Causes Ocular Hypertension?
Ocular hypertension is 15 times more likely to strike than the most common type of glaucoma. The causes are the same as those for glaucoma. It is basically caused when there is an imbalance of the amount of aqueous fluid in the eye, either through overproduction or lack of drainage. Steroids and other medications are known to increase the risk for high eye pressure. Eye injury can also be a factor, and it may take months or years for the injury to cause fluid pressure problems. Ocular hypertension is also associated with other eye conditions such as corneal arcus, pseudoexfoliation syndrome, and pigment dispersion syndrome.
Race, Age, and Genetics
The most at-risk groups for ocular hypertension are those over 40, African Americans, and those with a family history of the disease. Hereditary conditions such as thin central-corneal thickness may also put you at higher risk.
Treatment and Management
Treatment is individualized to each patient’s needs and how conservative or cautious your ophthalmologist is. Treatment is based on your eye pressure levels and other symptoms.
- 21-28 mm Hg: Some doctors will treat for this level and some will simply monitor.
- 26-27 mm Hg: Pressure is rechecked in two weeks. If it has lowered, subsequent follow-ups will be further apart.
- 28-30 mm Hg: Most ophthalmologists will treat it if your levels are consistently in this range.
- Symptoms such as pain, halos, blurred vision, or continually increasing pressure.
Medications for Ocular Hypertension
Medications are prescribed when your pressure is consistently at 28 mm Hg or above. Most are in the form of eyedrops but for serious cases, intravenous treatment may also be prescribed. Surgery is a last resort when all other options have failed and vision is threatened.
If you are in a high-risk group, it is best to make an appointment with an eye-care professional who does comprehensive testing that includes a test for intraocular pressure. Catching the condition early is the key to preventing glaucoma or any further damage to your eyes. Treatment is usually painless and effective, so get a Dr Fernando Eye Care glaucoma screening to protect and preserve your vision for the years to come.