Can reducing intraocular pressure help prevent vision loss due to glaucoma?

Dr. George A. Williams, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Elevated eye pressure is an important risk factor for the development of glaucoma, but glaucoma is diagnosed when damage to the optic nerve occurs. Your ophthalmologist will make a decision to treat the elevated pressure, or to monitor the pressure without treatment, based on the risk of developing damage. Normal eye pressure is defined statistically as 10 to 21 mm Hg. Glaucoma can develop at normal pressures, and patients with elevated pressure may never develop glaucoma. Other risk factors for glaucoma are also important, including race and family history. The most important thing is to make a commitment to the regular follow-up visits that your ophthalmologist recommends.

Dr. Gary S. Hirshfield, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Good question. Glaucoma is a disease of the nerve of the eye. The nerve is damaged in a characteristic way and that can lead to peripheral vision loss and ultimately central vision loss. Elevated pressure of the eye or intraocular pressure(IOP) is associated with glaucoma. That being said, many people who have elevated pressure do not develop glaucoma and many people with normal pressure do develop glaucoma. Other tests are needed to determine when eye pressure should be treated if at all. These tests should be performed and repeated in follow-up by an Eye M.D.

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