What Does High Eye Pressure Mean?

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EyeQue Team

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April 19, 2019

If your ophthalmologist has told you that you have high eye pressure, you could be at risk for developing glaucoma. It’s important to understand the risks of glaucoma and treatment options so that you can prevent serious issues such as permanent vision loss.

What Is Eye Pressure?

Eye pressure is also called intraocular pressure or IOP, and it measures the level of fluid pressure inside your eye. Here’s how it works:

Behind your eye’s pupil, lens, and iris, there is a jelly-like fluid called the vitreous gel. Your eye also contains a liquid called aqueous humor between the cornea (the clear protective layer covering the front of your eye) and the iris (the colored part of your eye surrounding the pupil).

Human eye. Disease glaucoma. Stock Vector illustration.

If your eyes are healthy, small amounts of aqueous humor enter the eye as equal amounts drain out. This regular flow of aqueous humor maintains healthy eye pressure.

What Happens if You Have High Eye Pressure?

If you experience high eye pressure without any other symptoms, you have a condition called ocular hypertension. Usually, people with this condition won’t experience any vision loss or other symptoms. However, ocular hypertension can lead to glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve and will lead to blindness if left untreated.

How Can You Monitor and Treat High Eye Pressure?

Unfortunately, high intraocular pressure and glaucoma often do not have noticeable warning signs until the disease has led to permanent vision loss. Your ophthalmologist can test for high eye pressure during your next complete eye exam. When this condition is spotted early, your ophthalmologist can prescribe medicated eye drops to slow or prevent glaucoma.

Here are some ways to help prevent glaucoma:

  • Get a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis (at least every ten years if you’re younger than 40, and more often as you get older or if you have a family history of glaucoma)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Wear protective glasses when playing sports or using power tools
  • Test your eyes at home and monitor your refractive error or visual acuity

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