What Does High Eye Pressure Really Mean?

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Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the pressure that naturally occurs in your eye. When this pressure is higher than the normal range it is called ocular hypertension.

Left untreated, this condition can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss, which is irreversible.

You can in some cases develop high eye pressure without any permanent eye damage. Keep reading to learn more about what high eye pressure really means!

How Does High Eye Pressure Develop?

The following are some of the main known causes of high eye pressure:

High aqueous fluid production

The aqueous humor is a type of fluid that flows through your pupil and into the anterior chamber of your eye. This chamber is the space located between your iris and your pupil.

This fluid is produced by the ciliary body of the eye. This is behind your iris. High aqueous humor production has links to high eye pressure.

The aqueous humor drains from the eye through the trabecular meshwork in your eye. This meshwork is on the side of the anterior chamber at the axis point of your cornea and iris.

Producing a lot of high aqueous humor can cause the pressure in your eye to increase. This increase in pressure causes high eye pressure.

Even if you produce a normal amount of aqueous humor, you can still be at risk of developing high eye pressure. If the fluid drains too slowly, it can start to build up in the anterior chamber, and on the optic nerve. This can also cause high eye pressure.

Medication Side Effects

Some steroid medications have side effects that are known to cause high eye pressure. This includes both steroids used to treat eye and non-eye conditions.

Steroids used to treat asthma and arthritis can cause high eye pressure. Steroid eye drops used during the refractive eye surgery recovery process can cause high eye pressure as well. This includes both cataract surgery and LASIK.

It is important to have your IOP checked regularly if you are currently taking, or have taken steroid medication.

Eye trauma

Injuries to your eye can throw off the balance of aqueous humor production. Both the injury and disruption of your aqueous can cause optic nerve damage.

Schedule an eye exam immediately if you have had a recent eye injury. Even if the injury does not bother you for long, it can still cause damage that you may not be aware of.

Other Eye Conditions

High eye pressure can occur as a result of other eye conditions that are known to cause high eye pressure. This includes:

  • Pseudo-exfoliation syndrome
  • Pigment dispersion syndrome
  • Corneal arcus

Hereditary Causes

Hereditary causes such as race, age, and family history can cause high eye pressure. African-Americans have a higher chance of developing high eye pressure.

If you have a family history of high eye pressure, the signs usually start to show after turning 40.


Early detection is the best line of defense against high eye pressure. This leads to early treatment.

You may be able to relieve the eye pressure using prescription eye drops. Your doctor will continue to monitor your condition throughout the eye drop treatment.

If it worsens or the eye drops don’t relieve the pressure, then glaucoma surgery may be necessary.

There are no noticeable symptoms of high eye pressure other than red eyes. This means that you cannot self diagnose the condition.

You may not even be aware that you have high eye pressure. It is only something you can diagnose during an eye exam.

Want to make sure your eyes stay healthy? Start by scheduling an eye exam at Stahl Eyecare Experts in Garden City, NY!

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