They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but they can also be a window into your health. Just as the measurement of blood pressure has clinical significance, measuring eye pressure is useful in evaluating overall eye health. An eye pressure test measures the fluid pressure inside the eye, and is a routine part of every comprehensive eye exam. Similar to having consistent high blood pressure, high eye pressure can have devastating effects. This can include damage to the optic nerve, and can eventually lead to glaucoma or permanent vision loss if it is not detected and treated properly. For this reason, having it checked regularly is as important as having your blood pressure checked. Although each person’s eye pressure is different, someone who has higher than normal intraocular pressure has an increased risk of developing glaucoma. However, high eye pressure alone does not cause it. But it is a significant risk factor. Because eye pressure plays such an important role in overall eye health, here is all you need to know about why it matters.
Measuring Eye Pressure: Why It Matters
Measuring eye pressure is like measuring blood pressure. But, unlike blood pressure, the danger zones for eye pressure can be tricky to pinpoint. That’s because people can have different ranges for what is normal. Because eye pressure helps support the shape of the eye, which in turn supports the parts of the eye that help you see, measuring it is important. Since high eye pressure can put you at risk for developing glaucoma.
High Eye Pressure: What It Means
Statistically speaking, greater than 22 mmHg is considered higher than normal. The space behind the eye’s pupil, lens, and iris, contains a fluid called vitreous gel. The eye also contains a liquid called aqueous humor just behind the cornea. These substances help our eyes retain their round shape and keep our eye pressure controlled. In healthy eyes, small amounts of aqueous humor enter the eye as equal amounts drain out. This regular flow maintains healthy eye pressure. Unfortunately, sometimes the drainage system in the eye causes the fluid to build up resulting in high eye pressure. Experiencing high eye pressure without any other symptoms, may point to a condition called ocular hypertension. Although, people with this condition usually do not experience any vision loss or other symptoms, ocular hypertension can lead to glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Diagnosing & Treating High or Low Eye Pressure
For the eyes to stay healthy, pressure must be neither too high nor too low. Unfortunately, the pressure within the eyes can change suddenly and for reasons that are not always obvious. A comprehensive eye exam can help detect any eye problems at their early stages when they’re most treatable. If you have questions about our eye exams or need more information about eye pressure, call us today at (619) 222-2020.