What Is Ocular Hypertension?

Ocular hypertension is when the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP) is higher than normal.

With ocular hypertension, the front of the eye does not drain fluid properly. This causes eye pressure to build up. Higher than normal eye pressure can cause glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease where eye pressure damages the optic nerve, causing vision loss.

Ocular hypertension is not the same as glaucoma. With ocular hypertension, the optic nerve looks normal and there are no signs of vision loss. However, people with ocular hypertension are considered “glaucoma suspects.” That means they should see their ophthalmologist regularly to be checked for glaucoma.

Ocular hypertension usually does not have any signs or symptoms. Because you can have high eye pressure and not know it, it is important to have regular eye exams with your ophthalmologist.