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Ocular Hypertension

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Ocular hypertension is an increase in the pressure in your eyes that is above the range considered normal with no detectable changes in vision or damage to your eyes.  The term is used to distinguish people with elevated pressure from those with glaucoma, a serious eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.

Ocular hypertension can occur in people of all ages, but it occurs more frequently in African Americans, those over age 40, and those with family histories of ocular hypertension and/or glaucoma.  It is also very common in those who are very nearsighted or have diabetes.

Ocular hypertension has no noticeable signs or symptoms.  As part of a comprehensive eye exams, your doctor of optometry can check the pressure in your eyes with an instrument called a tonometer (“air puff” test).  The inner structures of your eyes will also be examined for any potential damage.

Not all people with ocular hypertension will develop glaucoma.  However, there is an increased risk of glaucoma among those with ocular hypertension, so regular comprehensive eye exams are essential for your overall health.  

There is no cure for ocular hypertension, however, careful monitoring and treatment, when indicated, can decrease the risk of damage to your eyes.  


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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