What Happens To Our Eyes When Eye Pressure Gets Too High?
On June 22, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that The Titan, a deep-sea submersible, with a crew of five individuals, was discovered in fragments due to a "catastrophic implosion."
The submersible had been on a journey to explore the century-old wreckage of the Titanic, and unfortunately, the implosion resulted in the loss of all lives on board.
Have you ever wondered what happens to our eyes when our eye pressure gets too high?
When the pressure inside the eye is high, it is known as ocular hypertension. This condition refers to an increased intraocular pressure (IOP) or heightened pressure within the eye. Our eyes continuously produce a clear fluid called aqueous humor, which circulates in the front of the eye and is subsequently drained. In a healthy scenario, the inflow and outflow of this fluid are balanced. However, if the fluid fails to exit the eye as it should, the IOP rises. Normally, the range of normal eye pressure falls between 11 and 21 mmHg. Should your ocular pressure surpass 21 mmHg in one or both eyes, it is possible that you are experiencing ocular hypertension.
Consequences of Ocular Hypertension
Elevated intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for glaucoma, particularly in individuals with ocular hypertension. Glaucoma, an eye condition characterized by optic nerve damage that impairs the transmission of visual signals between the eye and brain, can result in vision loss. Often referred to as the "Silent Thief of Sight," glaucoma can lead to visual impairment even before noticeable symptoms manifest. Therefore, scheduling regular eye examinations is crucial as advanced diagnostic tests are now accessible to detect early indications of glaucoma.
While the exact cause of glaucoma is not fully understood, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic predisposition, age, and other risk factors such as elevated IOP, family history of glaucoma, thin corneas, and certain medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Other consequences of ocular hypertension includes optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Ocular Hypertension vs Glaucoma
The key difference between ocular hypertension and glaucoma lies in the presence or absence of optic nerve damage and associated visual field loss. Ocular hypertension is a risk factor for the development of glaucoma, as prolonged high eye pressure can potentially lead to optic nerve damage and glaucomatous changes over time. However, not all individuals with ocular hypertension will develop glaucoma.
Signs of Ocular Hypertension
In the early stages, ocular hypertension usually does not exhibit any noticeable signs or symptoms. This makes it challenging to detect until irreversible harm has already taken place. As a result, it is crucial to prioritize regular eye exams by visiting your eye doctor.
Treatment for Ocular Hypertension
To address ocular hypertension, prescription eye drops are commonly employed. These eye drops serve two purposes: facilitating the drainage of aqueous fluid from the eye or reducing the production of aqueous humor.
In certain instances, surgery may be required to enhance the drainage of aqueous fluid from the eye.
Remember, early detection and timely treatment are key in preventing potential vision loss associated with ocular hypertension. Therefore, take action and prioritize your eye health. Schedule regular eye exams with an eye care professional, especially if you have risk factors such as a family history of glaucoma or other eye diseases.
Armstrong, K. (2023, June 23). Titanic sub search: US Navy detected implosion sounds after sub lost contact. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-65994405
Lazarus, R. (2021, October 5). Ocular hypertension: Causes, symptoms, tests, and treatment. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/occular-hypertension
WebMD Editorial Contributors. (n.d.). Ocular hypertension: Causes, symptoms, tests, and treatment. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/occular-hypertension