Excessive pressure in the eye is medically known as ocular hypertension. Pressure in the eye can become a serious health issue if it is not diagnosed and treated. Eye pressure is caused by a buildup of fluid within the eye and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm HG). The pressure inside the eye should be between 12 and 21 mm HG, although some patients have been able to withstand a higher pressure with no risk to them. If the pressure in the eye exceeds 30 mm HG, it is imperative to seek medical advice and have the proper tests performed.
Eye pressure can be brought on by many causes such as stress and injury and does not always result in serious problems. However, not treating your eye pressure symptoms can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious condition in which the optic nerve fibers in the eye become malnourished and lack the proper blood supply. The nerves, if untreated, will eventually die and will not be able to regenerate. Eye pressure does not automatically mean glaucoma. Glaucoma is also associated with a lack of blood flow to the optic nerve.
Symptoms of eye pressure include severe eye pain and headaches. A gradual loss of vision may occur, usually simultaneously in both eyes. Reddening of the eye and blurred vision are also symptoms of eye pressure. Severe eye pressure is often accompanied with nausea and vomiting due to the intense pain in the eyes. If the patient has thicker corneas, the result often is higher eye pressure. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of eye pressure do not appear until more serious problems have arisen. An eye exam should be done every six months to ensure that you do not have a more threatening issue.
There are many tests available to measure the pressure in the eye to determine whether you have serious eye pressure problems and if they have advanced to glaucoma or any other eye conditions. A simple visual eye test can be performed to determine your visibility. Numbing medicated drops are usually applied during a tonometry test. This test measures the pressure within the eye and is very helpful when determining the scope of the problem. Your side peripheral vision should also be tested.
Pharmaceutical drugs are available to reduce eye pressure by helping the eye release excess fluid. Surgery is an option as it drains the eye, reduces eye pressure and prevents more serious symptoms and issues. Beta blockers help to prevent the eye from producing eye fluid to prevent pressure.
If you have a family history of glaucoma or severe eye pressure, you may be at risk for elevated eye pressure. Past eye injuries, whether serious or minor, can also lead to high eye pressure.