Ocular hypertension is a condition in which the pressure inside the eyeball is higher than the normal pressure. If not treated properly, people with ocular hypertension are at risk for glaucoma and vision loss.
Ocular hypertension occurs due to disturbances in the eye's fluid flow system, which causes fluid to build up in the eye and increase eye pressure. Although the process is the same, ocular hypertension is different from glaucoma. However, this condition will increase the risk of glaucoma.
Ocular hypertension does not cause optic nerve damage and patients do not experience signs of vision loss as in glaucoma. In most patients, ocular hypertension causes no symptoms at all, so this condition often goes unnoticed.
Causes of Ocular Hypertension
The eye has an eye fluid called aqueous humor which plays an important role in eye health. This fluid functions in supplying nutrients, such as vitamins, protein, glucose, and amino acids, which are needed by the eye, maintaining eye shape and size, and maintaining eye pressure.
Normally, this eye fluid continues to be produced and expelled from the eye in a balanced amount, so that eye pressure is always within normal limits. However, if fluid output is impaired and fluid is retained in the eyeball, there can be an increase in pressure inside the eye, known as ocular hypertension.
Anyone can develop ocular hypertension, but the risk of developing this condition increases if a person:
- Have a family history of ocular hypertension and glaucoma
- Suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure
- Over 40 years old
- Have a history of eye disease, such as severe nearsightedness
- Long-term use of corticosteroids
- Have you ever had an eye injury or surgery?
Ocular Hypertension Treatment
The goal of treating ocular hypertension is to reduce high pressure in the eyeball, and prevent glaucoma and damage to the optic nerve.
Generally, doctors will give eye drops to treat ocular hypertension. You need to use the drug as recommended by the doctor, so that the drug can work optimally. In some cases, the doctor may also use a laser or perform surgery to lower the pressure in the eyeball.
If the pressure in the eyeball is only slightly above normal, the doctor may not start treatment right away, but only monitor eye pressure periodically.
Ocular hypertension is often unavoidable. However, if found and treated early, ocular hypertension can be managed before it progresses to glaucoma.
Therefore, if you have risk factors for ocular hypertension or a family history of glaucoma, have regular eye exams with your doctor even if you don't feel any symptoms.