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What Causes High Eye Pressure?

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A man sitting at a desk rubbing his right eye with his fingers due to eye problems.

Maintaining your eye health is important for keeping your vision clear. There are many eye conditions that can cause a wide range of problems that lead to long-term vision consequences, and one of those conditions is high intraocular pressure (IOP)—also known as high eye pressure. But what causes high IOP?

High eye pressure is commonly caused by medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, but it can also be caused by recent trauma to the eye, other changes to the eye’s health, some medications, and even some surgical procedures. 

This makes it essential to regularly visit your optometrist so they can monitor your eye health and pressure with comprehensive eye exams. Regular visits give them a chance to catch any potentially developing conditions and treat them early.

Is High Eye Pressure Bad?

Ocular hypertension—high eye pressure—occurs when the pressure in your eye is higher than normal, and it’s often a sign of serious underlying health conditions. 

Your eye naturally contains fluids that make up a significant portion of its composition, and these fluids drain into a series of systems around the eye when they build up too much. However, this delicate balance isn’t always perfect—there’s a wide range of conditions that can lead to this drainage system having issues and your eye pressure increasing as a result.

While it isn’t guaranteed, high eye pressure can lead to many complications—one of these being glaucoma, a progressive eye disease that’s often caused by high eye pressure putting stress on the optic nerve. This can eventually lead to permanent vision loss.

It’s important to visit an optometrist if you feel like you may have high eye pressure, as conditions like glaucoma rarely show early symptoms until they’ve begun to progress. While not every case of high eye pressure leads to glaucoma, there is a significant link between them.

Potential Causes of High Eye Pressure

There are several potential factors that can lead to the pressure in your eye increasing, including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Recent eye trauma or a recent surgery
  • Extended use of steroid medications
  • A family history of high eye pressure

If you have a family history of glaucoma or high eye pressure, or other underlying health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, you may be at an increased risk of developing high eye pressure, and it’s critical to speak with an eye doctor about your eye health.

How to Find Out if You Have High Eye Pressure

When it comes to detecting whether or not you have high eye pressure, there is one problem: it’s extremely difficult to self-diagnose. In order to test eye pressure, optometrists often use a machine called a tonometer, a device designed to properly check the internal pressure of your eye.

This machine provides an eye care professional with the chance to painlessly and non-invasively get information about your eye and its internal systems and pressure. It’s often used during comprehensive eye exams, during which an eye doctor can also evaluate many other parts of your eyes with a range of equipment that helps them check everything from the optic nerve to your unique vision needs.

A woman holding a small bottle of eye drops in her right hand and putting them on her left eye while she uses her left index finger to pull her eyelid down.

How to Reduce Eye Pressure

Maintaining your eye health is essential if you have high eye pressure. Fortunately, there are many habits you can incorporate into your life to help keep your eyes healthy, such as:

  • The use of prescription eye drops to either help your eye increase how much fluid it drains or slow the production of fluids internally
  • Medications that can be taken alongside or instead of eyedrops
  • Corrective surgeries, which may involve adding an artificial drainage channel or improving the natural systems in the eye to help with fluid drainage

Alongside these options, your eye doctor may also recommend making lifestyle changes. It can be beneficial to maintain a healthy diet full of vegetables and leafy greens, as these provide many nutrients essential for your overall eye health. It can also help to exercise regularly, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and try to manage stress levels.

If you work in an environment that’s particularly dusty or improperly lit, it can be helpful to use proper eye protection to minimize eye strain as well. 

Eye Care in Pasadena

Our team at Charles Korth Optometry is trained to look for potential eye conditions like high intraocular pressure. The eye is a complex system that can be affected by all kinds of external and internal factors, and we’re here to thoroughly examine your eyes and do everything we can to help keep them healthy. 

To speak with our caring and experienced team about your eyes, schedule an appointment with us today!

Written by Total Vision

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