You are probably familiar with the term "Hypertension", commonly known as High Blood Pressure.
Ocular Hypertension means High Eye Pressure, meaning that the pressure in your eye is higher than normal levels, but it does not necessarily mean that you have glaucoma.
Many people think that high eye pressure means glaucoma (a very serious eye disease). High eye pressure is associated with glaucoma, but high eye pressure alone does not necessarily mean that you have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious condition that causes vision loss and optic nerve damage. By itself, however, ocular hypertension doesn't damage your vision or eyes.
You can't tell by yourself that you have ocular hypertension. There are no outward signs or symptoms such as pain or redness. The same holds true for glaucoma. At each eye exam, we measure your eye pressure and compare it to normal levels. A special instrument called a tonometer is used to measure the pressure.
Ocular Hypertension can occur in anyone, but certain individuals are more susceptible and are at higher risk, including African-Americans, people over 40, those with a family history of ocular hypertension or glaucoma. Individuals who have diabetes or are very nearsightedness are also at higher risk for ocular hypertension. Certain medications, such as steroids, and trauma can cause higher-than-normal eye pressure.
It is always important to dedifferentiate if someone has ocular hypertension or glaucoma and that is why there is a series of tests that we do in our office to determine if someone has glaucoma or not. If someone has ocular hypertension, we simply monitor very closely to make sure that it does not become glaucoma.
We usually don't treat just pressure, but if the pressure is too high, then it can ultimately cause permanent vision loss and medication is prescribed to prevent vision loss. Having a yearly regular eye examination is the best way to detect this.