Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Ocular hypertension is a risk factor for glaucoma. What is ocular hypertension? It is when your eye pressures are higher than normal. Left untreated, high eye pressure can cause glaucoma and permanent vision loss in some individuals. The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) showed that 4.5 to 9.4 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have high eye pressure and this increases their risk for developing glaucoma. Therefore, you can have ocular hypertension and not develop glaucoma. Researchers have estimated that ocular hypertension is 10 to 15 times more likely to occur then primary open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type of glaucoma in the US. The causes of high eye pressures could be from any number of causes below:
- Excessive aqueous production – this is the clear fluid that is made in the eye. If you have too much eye fluid, your pressure rises.
- Inadequate aqueous drainage – if the drain in your eye is damaged, your eye pressure will rise.
- Medications – steroid medications used to treat asthma and other medical conditions have been shown to increase eye pressure.
- Eye injuries – an injury to the eye can damage your drain or cause too much fluid in the eye to be produced, causing an increase in eye pressure.
- Other eye conditions – there are some not so common eye conditions that need to be diagnosed by an eye doctor that can cause an increase in eye pressure (for example, pigment dispersion syndrome).
- Age, race, and family history can also increase your risk of having this condition. African Americans are at an eight times higher risk of developing glaucoma than Caucasians.
The last question you may be wondering is how do you know if you have high eye pressure? Most of the time, there is no way to know if you do. There are no outward signs such as eye pain or red eyes. Thus, it is important to have your eye pressure checked on a regular basis during an eye exam. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.