Hypertension is a serious condition common in older adults, particularly those in their 40s and older. This condition is very dangerous as there are no physical symptoms to suggest you have it, and if left untreated, it can cause glaucoma, which leads to blindness. Because of the severity of this condition, it is important to know how to recognize it and how to get rid of it.
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In this post, you will learn the meaning of ocular hypertension, its causes, symptoms, and some home remedies to get rid of ocular hypertension. Stay tuned!
What Is Ocular Hypertension?
Ocular hypertension is defined as an abnormal increase in intraocular pressure. This pressure is referred to as “intraocular pressure“.
Normal eye pressure is between 10-21 mmHg. Ocular hypertension is anything above this normal range (above 21 mmHg). This can happen in either one eye or both eyes together.
Causes Of Ocular Hypertension
Before delving fully into the causes of ocular hypertension, we must understand what aqueous humor means, as it plays an important role in causing it.
Aqueous humor is a transparent liquid that is produced in the ciliary body and lies in front of the lens. The watery fluid fills the eye’s anterior chamber and passes through the pupil into the posterior chamber of the eye, filling the space between the cornea and the iris. Aqueous humor has various functions, including:
- Regulates the pressure in the eyes.
- Nourishes of the cornea and lens
- Helps remove metabolic waste (e.g. dust) from the lens and cornea
- Encourages the passage of light into the retina
- Aqueous humor contains ascorbic acid, which helps protect the eyes from UV light
- Prevents the eyes from drying out
- Protect the eyes from microorganisms. This is made possible by the immunoglobulins it contains.
Ocular hypertension is caused by the following:
Poor/Insufficient Aqueous Fluid Drainage
Because the aqueous humor is produced by the ciliary body, it must be balanced by drainage. This drainage occurs via the trabecular meshwork. If the way aqueous fluid drains normally is reduced or not draining at all, aqueous fluid will be accumulated in the eyes. This leads to the creation of intraocular pressure in the eyes, leading to ocular hypertension. Therefore, this implies that the aqueous liquid’s production rate must be proportional to the rate at which the liquid is drained.
History Of Trauma
Traumatic experiences are one of the causes of ocular hypertension. For example, an accident can lead to an eye injury, which can affect the drainage system of the aqueous fluid and cause pressure to build up in the eyes. This, in turn, could lead to ocular hypertension.
Overproduction Of Aqueous Fluid
When the ciliary body produces excess aqueous fluid, the eye becomes overfilled with the fluid enough to create pressure inside the eye. This is possible because the trabecular meshwork responsible for drainage will not be able to empty at the same rate as the ciliary body produces the fluid. The pressure created in the eyes, called intraocular pressure, can lead to ocular hypertension
The Use Of Steroids
The use of steroids is one of the causes of ocular hypertension. This is because it can also cause an increase in intraocular hypertension, which is referred to as steroid-induced ocular hypertension. Steroids have multiple uses, especially when a person is following the doctor’s prescription. However, some individuals have increased intraocular pressure after using steroids. These individuals are known as steroid responders. After a person takes steroids (usually by either a topical or periocular route of administration), the ciliary body produces more watery fluid, and the trabecular meshwork finds it difficult to clear the fluid. This then builds up pressure in the eyes. Hence, ocular hypertension.
Other Eye Diseases
Other eye diseases can also lead to increased intraocular pressure, leading to ocular hypertension. Some of these conditions include corneal arch (when lipid is deposited in the peripheral cornea), pigment dispersal syndrome (causing the eye drain to become clogged with pigment), etc.
Risk Factors Of Ocular Hypertension
Below are the risk factors for ocular hypertension:
As previously mentioned, ocular hypertension is more common in people over the age of 40. Studies have shown that intraocular pressure increases with age. This is because the trabecular meshwork responsible for draining the aqueous fluid weakens, and the cells gradually die. This limits the function of the meshwork and causes intraocular pressure to build up in the eyes.
Race is also a factor to consider as a risk factor for ocular hypertension. Studies have shown that Africans, particularly those of Caribbean descent, are at greater risk of developing ocular hypertension.
Ocular hypertension is more common in women than in men. This is due to the change in estrogen levels in the blood after menopause is reached.
Elevated Blood Pressure
People with persistent high blood pressure are at greater risk of developing ocular hypertension. This is because the condition can lead to high ciliary artery pressure, which increases the overproduction of aqueous humor. This, in turn, causes increased intraocular pressure. It can also cause the aqueous humor outflow to become damaged, preventing the aqueous fluid from draining.
Smokers are at greater risk of developing high pressure in the eye, which leads to ocular hypertension, than those who don’t smoke.
People with a family history of ocular hypertension are more prone to ocular hypertension than people without a family history of ocular hypertension. This is due to their genetic makeup.
Symptoms Of Ocular Hypertension
There are no significant symptoms of ocular hypertension. When a person has ocular hypertension, the person still functions normally and does not notice any specific change attributed to hypertension.
How Do We Know When We Have Ocular Hypertension?
During our routine check-ups, we can find out if we have ocular hypertension or not. We will know this when the ophthalmologist uses an instrument known as a tonometer. The tonometer is an instrument used to measure the pressure in the eye. It is, therefore, important to carry out these checks. A routine checkup can tell you if there is a problem, and it is treated immediately before it becomes too pronounced, costly, or blinding.
Another way to determine if we have ocular hypertension is to check the corneal thickness value. People with thinner corneas have a higher risk of developing ocular hypertension than people with thick corneas. A pachymetry test is performed to determine the thickness of the cornea. This contributes to a better understanding of intraocular pressure. The normal value of the corneal thickness is 540 µm on average. People with a corneal thickness of less than 540 µm have increased intraocular pressure. This means that the thinner the cornea, the higher the pressure. Hence hypertension.
Risks Associated With Ocular Hypertension
The main risk after ocular hypertension is a condition known as glaucoma. Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease that usually progresses. It mainly occurs due to an abnormal increase in intraocular pressure that leads to damage to the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is damaged, signals connecting the eye to the brain are damaged, and visual information is not relayed to the brain. This can lead to permanent vision loss.
It is important to realize that not all forms of glaucoma are caused by intraocular pressure. This means a person can have glaucoma and still have normal eye pressure. It is also important to know that Ocular hypertension does not damage the optic nerve or cause vision loss. This means that ocular hypertension itself cannot lead to blindness. The only problem is that if left unattended for a long time, it can lead to glaucoma, which leads to vision loss. Therefore, a routine examination is of great importance.
Home Remedies For Ocular Hypertension
Eye massage has been found to help relieve intraocular pressure that causes ocular hypertension. It helps relieve built-up tension that prevents the normal outflow of aqueous humor from the trabecular meshwork. Gently rub your fingers over your eye muscles and surrounding structures for a few minutes. This will ease tensions.
It is important to reduce stress when you have ocular hypertension. Some studies have shown that psychological stress can increase intraocular pressure in healthy individuals. So check if you are incriminating yourself and make changes. Some people also strain their eyes by staring at the computer for a long time. It’s important to take a break sometimes before continuing your work. You can also buy safety glasses that will help reduce the effect of light on your eyes.
Eating healthily is one of the ways through which ocular hypertension can be cured. You can reduce eye hypertension by eating a balanced diet and reducing your carbohydrate and calorie intake. You should eat more vegetables and fruit. Some of them include spinach, carrots, cabbage, etc.
Correct your sleeping posture
If you suffer from ocular hypertension, another way to lower intraocular pressure is to sleep in the correct sleeping position. Sleeping on your back, stomach, and side has been found to cause an increase in intraocular pressure. This is not good for someone with ocular hypertension. You need to elevate your head to about 20 degrees with your pillows instead of sleeping with your whole body flat on the bed. This helps in reducing ocular hypertension.
Avoid or reduce caffeine consumption
One of the ways ocular hypertension could be reduced is by avoiding or reducing caffeinated beverages. This is because caffeinated beverages have been found to increase intraocular pressure, leading to ocular hypertension temporarily. Those at genetic risk of developing ocular hypertension must avoid caffeinated beverages.
Reduce salt consumption
Consuming too much salt can increase eye pressure. It is therefore important to reduce your salt intake to lower intraocular pressure and thereby reduce ocular hypertension.
It should be noted that ocular hypertension is not usually a disease itself but can lead to vision loss if not treated promptly and properly. If the examination performed on your eye exam reveals that you have ocular hypertension, the above home remedies, along with treatment from your doctor, should lower the intraocular pressure that is causing ocular hypertension. However, if home remedies for ocular hypertension do not lower eye pressure, it is important to consult your doctor for more appropriate treatment to avoid damaging the optic nerve.
Which Medications are Best for Eliminating Ocular Hypertension Symptoms?
Antiglaucoma Prostaglandin, beta-blockers, Anhydrase Inhibitors, Antiglaucoma alpha agonists, Rho Kinase Transporter Inhibitors, Antiglaucoma combos, etc., are a few medications that help reduce the pressure inside the eye and ease the curing of ocular hypertension.
What are the Common Symptoms of Ocular Hypertension?
Eye pain or pressure, Headaches, Nausea, vomiting, Red eyes, etc., are some of the most common symptoms of Ocular Hypertension.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.