Your eyes are not empty. They are filled with various fluids made by your body to keep your eyes healthy and maintain their shape. Sometimes, however, the drainage system inside your eye can cause the fluid to build up, leading to high eye pressure.
This is a condition known as ocular hypertension, and it is a risk factor in the development of glaucoma. So what else do you need to know about ocular hypertension and protecting your vision?
Causes of High Eye Pressure
According to the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, 4.5 to 9.4 percent of Americans age 40 or older have ocular hypertension. Factors that cause ocular hypertension include:
Restricted Drainage: If a clear fluid, known as aqueous, drains too slowly from the eye or is restricted, your eye pressure will increase.
Previous Eye Injury: Previous eye trauma, whether it was recent of years after the injury, can affect the production and drainage of aqueous from the eye. Be sure to tell your eye doctor about all past eye-related injuries.
Side Effects of Medications: Certain medications, especially steroid medications, have been shown to increase your risk of developing ocular hypertension.
Cornea Thickness: According to research, individuals with thinner-than-normal corneal measurements may be at risk for ocular hypertension.
Other Eye Conditions: High eye pressure is associated with several other eye conditions, such as pigment dispersion syndrome, pseudoexfoliation syndrome, and corneal arcus of the buildup of cholesterol in your cornea.
Although anyone can develop ocular hypertension, race, age, and family history can play a role in your risk of development. African-Americans, women over the age of 40, and people with a family history of ocular hypertension are at greater risk.
Symptoms and Treatment of Ocular Hypertension
In most cases, there are no symptoms or warning signs of ocular hypertension. For this reason, it’s important to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist.
During your comprehensive eye exam, the eye doctor will check your intraocular pressure, which measures the pressure inside your eyeball. They’ll also be able to check the following:
Has your eye pressure elevated?
Are there any signs of internal eye damage from a current or past injury?
Are there optic nerve abnormalities?
Is the peripheral vision normal?
Do you require treatment?
Not only will these tests check for ocular hypertension, but they’ll also rule out or diagnosis early signs of glaucoma.
If your optometrist detects ocular hypertension, that does not automatically mean you will develop glaucoma. By catching ocular hypertension early, your eye doctor can prescribe medical treatment to reduce high eye pressure to help prevent glaucoma and vision loss.
Some popular forms of treatment include:
Eye Drops: Eye drops can reduce the amount of liquid in the eye or improve liquid flow to relieve eye pressure.
Oral Medications: When eye drops don’t reduce high eye pressure or alleviate discomfort, your optometrist can prescribe oral medications to decrease your intraocular pressure.
Surgeries: Prescribed as a last resort, surgery or laser therapy can be used to improve eye drainage.
After reviewing your diagnosis, medical history, living situation, and potential risk factors, your optometrist will be able to recommend a treatment plan that is right for you.
How Can You Protect Your Vision?
There is no other way to detect ocular hypertension other than a comprehensive eye exam. Ocular hypertension has little to no outward symptoms like red eyes or eye pain. Therefore, the most important thing you can do is schedule regular eye appointments.
Schedule your appointment with Eden Prairie Eye Care today by calling our office at (952) 944-2792 or schedule your appointment online. We’ll ensure that you have all the information necessary to protect your vision!