FAQs about Ocular Hypertension
Aqueous humor is the fluid within your eyes which is constantly produced by ciliary processes in the eye and drained through small channels. If the pathway to these channels are blocked or if the channels themselves get blocked, then the fluid can accumulate within the eyes. This buildup of fluid increases pressure within the eyes. This elevation in intraocular pressure is termed as ocular hypertension.
Ocular hypertension cannot be cured, but there are several treatment options to manage it before it can progress to glaucoma. Some treatment options such as surgery to open or widen the microchannels draining the fluid within the eyes can successfully prevent ocular hypertension from progressing. But before surgery, your ophthalmologist may prescribe medications to increase fluid drainage from your eyes.
If your eye pressure is high enough to warrant concern, it is best you consult with an ophthalmologist instead of trying home treatments. Various medications in the form of eye drops are available which can increase drainage of the fluid from your eyes into the systemic circulation. But, these should only be tried after consulting with an ophthalmologist.
Drinking water in large volumes can cause transient elevations in eye pressure. But this effect is only temporary. However, it is best to drink water in smaller quantities throughout the day to avoid this spike in ocular pressure.
Aerobic exercises such as jogging and running have been shown to be beneficial to lower ocular hypertension in some studies. However, muscle strengthening exercises like weight lifting can increase intraocular pressure and worsen ocular hypertension.
Ocular hypertension is not a medical emergency, but it is a serious condition because if left untreated, it can progress to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition of the eye where ocular hypertension has caused significant damage to the optic nerves. Depending upon the extent and severity of nerve damage, glaucoma can result in some visual impairments or even complete blindness in the affected eye.
In both glaucoma and ocular hypertension, the pressure within the eye is higher than normal. But the two conditions are different in one critical point. In ocular hypertension, there is no detectable damage to optic nerves, whereas in glaucoma, the hypertension has resulted in visual impairments due to damage to optic nerves.