Symptoms and Signs of Ocular Hypertension

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2021

Doctor's Notes on Ocular Hypertension

Ocular hypertension is pressure of greater than 21 mm Hg in one or both eyes on two or more occasions. It is not considered a disease but as a symptom of a tendency to develop open-angle glaucoma. Ocular hypertension has no signs or symptoms. If it is found, the patient should be regularly observed for the development of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease where the optic nerve is damaged and accompanied by ocular hypertension.

The cause of ocular hypertension is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the fluid (aqueous humor) of the eye. In most individuals, the problem is with poor drainage not overproduction.

What Is the Treatment of Ocular Hypertension?

The treatment of ocular hypertension is to reduce pressure in the eye before it can cause loss of vision. The decision to treat is based on general guidelines and is often begun if the ocular pressure is 28 mm Hg or higher. Medications are in the form of eyedrops (some patients require two types of drops):

Follow-up is important as it may take 6-8 weeks for a drug to be effective. Surgery is not usually used to treat this problem but if medicines fail, laser surgery may be considered.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.