Elevated Eye Pressure: Do You Have Glaucoma?
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Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight”. This is because glaucoma has no symptoms and can cause irreversible vision loss. This sounds scary, but we promise preventing glaucoma related vision loss is possible as long as you keep up with your routine eye examinations. At these exams, your eye doctor will be able to diagnose and treat glaucoma before vision loss occurs. If you know a bit about glaucoma, you know that the number one risk factor is elevated eye pressure. But elevated eye pressure does not necessarily mean you have glaucoma. So, what does it mean when you are diagnosed with elevated eye pressure?
What Is Elevated Eye Pressure?
Elevated eye pressure, or intraocular pressure (IOP), occurs when the pressure inside of the eye is a higher than what is considered normal. This condition is referred to as ocular hypertension. This condition is common in people who have hypertension or high blood pressure. It is a major risk factor for glaucoma, but does not necessarily mean you have glaucoma.
Ocular hypertension just means your eye pressure is higher than normal, but you will be considered a “glaucoma suspect”. When you are diagnosed with ocular hypertension, your eyes will be checked often for signs of glaucoma. When does ocular hypertension become glaucoma?
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Optic nerve damage is permanent and cannot be restored. The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, occurs when fluid cannot properly drain from the eye. This fluid begins to build-up and raise your IOP. The more fluid that builds up and the more that your IOP elevates, the more likely you are to have optic nerve damage and vision loss.
When you have ocular hypertension, you will typically be given treatments to lower your IOP. By lowering your IOP, you are reducing your risk of glaucoma-related vision loss by preventing optic nerve damage. You doctor will monitor your IOP closely.
What Causes Ocular Hypertension and Glaucoma?
As mentioned above, the most common cause of glaucoma and high IOP is the buildup of fluid in the eye. This can be the result of an eye injury, eye surgery or a certain medication. However, sometimes eye pressure can become elevated for reasons unknown.
Because glaucoma and ocular hypertension do not have symptoms, it is extremely important to have routine eye examinations. This will help prevent vision loss through early diagnosis and treatment. Glaucoma and ocular hypertension treatments are aimed at lowering IOP, either by creating a new drainage canal for fluid to travel through, or by reducing fluid production.
If you are worried about ocular hypertension and glaucoma, come see the experts. Here at Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Arizona, our glaucoma experts are here to monitor your eye pressure, diagnose glaucoma and set up a treatment plan for you. Contact our Glendale, AZ location to schedule your eye examination today!