As people age, they tend to have problems with their eyes. Ocular hypertension is defined by an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) level.
Luckily, people with ocular hypertension have no detectable visual field damage.
Ocular hypertension is referred to as pre-glaucoma. People with the disorder have a greater chance of developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma is characterized by both an increase of IOP and optical nerve damage that directly causes irreversible vision loss.
IOP is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal IOP is from 10-21 mmHg while ocular hypertension is greater than 21. It can be in one or both eyes.
It is caused by an imbalance of aqueous humour, a specific fluid in the eye. There is an increased amount of fluid production that does not drain properly, which raises the pressure level.
People over 40 years old should have regular eye tests as IOP can slowly increase overtime. Obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, diabetes, and a history of stress may affect ocular hypertension as well.
Ophthalmologists, medical eye care doctors, will question family history of glaucoma, previous eye diseases, and surgeries. Doctors will also examine peripheral vision through an eye test.
Ophthalmologists can prescribe eye drops that will lower the pressure, which may prevent the onset of glaucoma. Medication may include pilocarpine, timolol, clonidine, or acetazolamide.