When the pressure inside of your eye is higher than normal it is called ocular hypertension. Keep reading to learn more about this condition so that you can better understand your treatment options and how to prevent ocular hypertension from occurring.
What is Ocular Hypertension?
Any time that the pressure in the eye is higher than normal it is called ocular hypertension. In and of itself ocular hypertension is not a disease, but it can increase your risk for other conditions like glaucoma. People with this condition should receive regular eye care visits to monitor their eyes for the onset of other more serious conditions like glaucoma.
Eye pressure is measured in milligrams of mercury. Normal eye pressure will fall into a range between 10 and 21 mg Hg. Ocular hypertension is classified as any eye with an eye pressure greater than 21 mg Hg. Most people that are classified as having ocular hypertension will not have any damage to the optic nerve as this usually occurs when other conditions like glaucoma are present.
How Common is this Condition?
Ocular hypertension is a common condition. Studies have estimated that more than 3 million people in the United States have elevated interocular pressure. Studies have also shown that the incidence of this condition is more common in African American (black) people than in Caucasians (white) people. Ocular hypertension risk increases with age and is much more common in those over the age of 40.
Are There Any Symptoms?
Most people with ocular hypertension do not feel any differently than they did before their eye pressure changed. This makes it important to get regular eye exams so that this condition can be diagnosed before optic nerve damage occurs. Everyone should have an eye exam at least every two years, more frequently if there are signs of increased interocular pressure. Talk with your eye care professional about how often you need to visit the eye doctor.
Prompt Treatment is Important
Getting prompt treatment is important because it can help you to keep your vision. Increased pressure inside of the eye can increase your risk for optic nerve damage and glaucoma. Glaucoma is very serious and is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. In addition to seeing a doctor regularly, you also need to follow their directions and treatment methods for treatment to be effective.
What Are the Treatment Options for Ocular Hypertension?
The primary goal of treatment for those with ocular hypertension is to manage the pressure before it causes damage to the optic nerve. This is typically done through the use of medications or eye drops. In rare instances surgery may be used, although doctors like to avoid this route whenever possible due to the associated risks.
Interocular Pressure and Glaucoma
One of the main reasons that ocular hypertension is a concern is that it increases the risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in elderly people. In fact, increased eye pressure is the largest risk factor for glaucoma. When the pressure in the eye is too high it can damage the optic nerve which can in turn lead to vision loss or glaucoma. Those with ocular hypertension should be carefully monitored and receive treatment as needed to lessen the likelihood of developing glaucoma and to reduce its associated vision loss.
What Causes Ocular Hypertension?
Researchers do not yet know all the reasons that a person may develop increased eye pressure. Pressure typically increases when the eye is not able to properly drain fluids. There are channels in the eye that drain excess fluids. Since the eye is always producing new fluids these drainage channels are necessary to keep your eye at the proper pressure. If the channels do not work effective or are unable to drain, the eye pressure may build up leading to ocular hypertension.
Ocular hypertension has no symptoms and is not a serious condition by itself. However, this condition can lead to more serious eye problems like glaucoma. It is important to regularly monitor your eye pressure and to receive treatment if necessary to ensure that your eye pressure remains within the normal levels. This will help you to lessen your odds for contracting glaucoma or experiencing vision loss.
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