You know about high blood pressure already, but did you know that our eyes also can have a similar pressure issues? Our eyes operate normally with a healthy level of eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP), but it can also be problematic. Because it’s difficult to tell on your own what’s normal and what isn’t normal when it comes to eye pressure, it’s important to understand when your IOP is at unhealthy levels. Below we’ve broken down when your concerns of high normal eye pressure are valid and when it’s time to see an optometrist.
What Is Healthy, Normal Eye Pressure?
Intraocular pressure is a measurement of the fluid pressure inside your eyes and is actually measured in millimetres of mercury. Normal eye pressure is usually considered to be between 10 and 20 millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Additionally (like blood pressure), having IOP that’s too high or too low is not good for your body, and in the case of your vision, it can even damage it.
Note that testing for eye pressure is a part of every eye exam checkup (it’s the one where the short puff of air is aimed at your eye), and can help discover high or low IOP so it can be treated effectively.
What Is Ocular Hypertension and What Causes It?
Elevated eye pressure with no other symptoms is known as ocular hypertension. Because everyone is different, some people can live their whole lives with higher than normal IOP while others may damage their eyes even if they are in the normal pressure range. Ultimately, your Kelowna optometrist will be able to tell you if your eyes are healthy.
Causes of Ocular Hypertension
As part of the regular healthy part of our eyes, they continually make a fluid called aqueous humor. As new fluid is made, the same amount should slowly drain out through the internal drainage system in your eyes. As long as that process continues, your eye pressure will remain stable.
However, if the drainage system in your eyes isn’t functioning properly the aqueous humor builds up in your eye. As such, the pressure inside the eye rises and – left untreated – will damage the optic nerve. This is one way glaucoma can develop.
Certain factors can lend to developing ocular hypertension. For instance:
- If you’re over the age of 40
- Have thin corneas
- Have a family history of glaucoma
How Is Ocular Hypertension Treated?
Typically, prescription eye drops prescribed by your optometrist in Kelowna are used to treat ocular hypertension.
Overall, eye pressure is definitely important to the health of your vision and the best way to find out if yours is healthy is to book an appointment with an optometrist.