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Hypertension

Ocular Hypertension is when the eye has a higher than average blood pressure. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the measurement of the amount of outward pressure created by the fluid in the eyeball.

Some people may have naturally high IOP within any side effects. Very high IOP puts pressure on ocular nerves, which eventually leads to glaucoma.

Hypertension is hard to catch without a visit to a doctor, as there are no physical symptoms present. Pain is also rarely felt.

There are many causes of hypertension. As stated above, IOP is dependent upon the amount of fluid in the eye. Aqueous fluid separates parts of the eye.  Excessive production of this fluid will cause pressure in the front of the eye.

Constant recycling of this fluid is needed to keep the parts of the parts of the eye healthy and to keep the eyeball “inflated.” If the drainage system is blocked, fluid will build up in the eye as it is continually produced. This, again, will cause hypertension.

Some steroid eye drops or prescribed medications may cause high IOP. Hypertension may also occur following laser eye surgery. IOP should be monitored post surgery and when taking medication.

Head or eye injury also has the possibility of damaging the parts of the eye that keep IOP in balance and can lead to temporary or permanent IOP.

Hypertension is also a symptom of other diseases such as corneal arcus and pigment dispersion syndrome.

Middle-age adults and African-Americans are at a higher risk than the national average. Interestingly, studies have shown that musicians who play woodwind or brass instrument are particularly risk for hypertension or glaucoma.

There is no cure for hypertension. Prescription eye drops can be used to lower IOP, but they have not shown a significant effect to be worth the side effects. Constant monitoring of IOP by a doctor is necessary to prevent IOP increasing and causing glaucoma. If IOP reaches dangerous levels, surgery may be necessary.