Ocular hypertension means the pressure in your eye, or your intraocular pressure (IOP), is higher than normal levels. Elevated IOP is also associated with glaucoma, which is a more serious condition that causes vision loss and optic nerve damage. By itself, however, ocular hypertension doesn’t damage your vision or eyes.
Studies suggest that 2% to 3% of the general population may have ocular hypertension.
Signs and symptoms of ocular hypertension
During routine eye exams, a tonometer is used to measure your IOP. Your eye typically is numbed with eye drops, and a small probe gently rests against your eye’s surface. Other tonometers direct a puff of air onto your eye’s surface to indirectly measure IOP.
What causes ocular hypertension?
Anyone can develop ocular hypertension, but it’s most common in African-Americans, people over 40, those with family history of ocular hypertension or glaucoma, and those with diabetes or high amounts of nearsightedness.
IOP may become elevated due to excessive aqueous fluid production or inadequate drainage. Certain medications, such as steroids, and trauma can cause higher-than-normal IOP measurements as well.
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