Glaucoma and Eye Pressure: Common Questions

Glaucoma is a multi-factorial, complicated eye disease with specific qualities such as optic nerve damage and visual field loss. While increased pressure inside the eye (called intraocular pressure or IOP) is typically present, even patients with normal range IOP can establish glaucoma.

There is no specific level of raised eye pressure that absolutely results in glaucoma; on the other hand, there is no lower level of IOP that will absolutely get rid of a person’s risk of developing glaucoma. That is why early medical diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is the crucial to avoiding vision loss.

Q&A for Glaucoma and Eye Pressure

Q: My eye specialist has specified that I might be establishing glaucoma. Can it be avoided? Exist things I could do now to postpone or avoid it from occurring? — G.K., Ontario, Canada

A: Glaucoma is an eye condition whereby the optic nerve fibers die from a lack of blood supply (nutrition). This used to be associated just with high eye pressure. We now know that it is the blood flow to the optic nerve, which connects the back of the eye to the brain, that makes a difference in glaucoma — not simply eye pressure. Regrettably, once optic nerve fibers pass away, they can not be rejuvenated.

So, can you do something to avoid glaucoma? Great question. We do not actually understand the response. I can tell you that present research is suggesting that optic nerve nutrition can be improved with particular drugs as well as with specific nutritional agents, like gingko biloba.

My suggestion would be to avoid smoking cigarettes and excessive alcohol, eat a healthy diet, keep your weight down, exercise, take nutritional products and make sure to see your eye professional on a regular basis. — Dr. Dubow

Q: My eye doctor informed me that my right eye pressure is sort of high at 28 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). I typically go to the fitness center and invest a great deal of time inside the sauna, where it is actually hot. I also do some weight lifting. Do these day-to-day habits have anything to do with having high eye pressure? — R.S.

A: Your trips to the gym, time in the sauna and weight lifting need to not affect your intraocular pressure. — Dr. Slonim


Glaucoma and Eye Pressure: Common Questions

Q: Have you become aware of a test to determine nerve fiber thickness to help in the early detection of glaucoma? It is maded with a maker called GDx. — S.H., California

A: Yes, the device you describe performs an extremely detailed optic nerve analysis for the medical diagnosis of glaucoma. The maker declares that the extremely early glaucomatous changes can be determined. The test takes only a few seconds. — Dr. Slonim

Q: What are the signs of glaucoma? I have actually polarized glasses and see rays shown from car headlights. Could it be since of cataracts? — E.S., California

A: Usually there are no signs of the most common kind of glaucoma (chronic open-angle glaucoma). Slowly increasing pressure inside the eye can be spotted just by having the intraocular pressure (IOP) checked at an eye doctor’s workplace.

Cataracts are possible with those symptoms. Sounds like you could use a thorough eye examination. — Dr. Slonim

Q: I have glaucoma and a cataract. Will I have excellent results with my cataract surgery? — A.P.

A: The combination of these two conditions does not reduce the success of the cataract surgery. Cataract surgery alone will not relieve your glaucoma. Your glaucoma can still advance whether you have cataract surgery. The results of your surgery typically depend upon your cosmetic surgeon and what occurs at the time of your surgery. — Dr. Slonim

Q: How can one have high eye pressure and not have glaucoma? At what high variety do the eye drops begin? — E.C., Pennsylvania

A: Normal pressure in the eye is in between 12 and 21mm Hg. Some patients are lucky because their optic nerves can tolerate pressures outside this range.

If there are no other signs of glaucoma (visual field defect or optic nerve modifications), then high pressures can be followed and merely observed. Many docs will, however, treat a pressure higher than 30mm Hg. Greater than normal eye pressure without any evidence of glaucoma is referred to as ocular hypertension (no relationship to blood pressure). — Dr. Slonim

Q: I just recently was diagnosed with the onset of glaucoma. I was placed on glaucoma eye drops (Travatan). Since then, I have been experiencing irregular heart rhythms. Is this normal? Could this be triggered by the eye drops or is it an unrelated problem? — C.S.

A: I am uninformed of any understood “irregular heart rhythm” side effect of Travatan. Bradycardia (a slow heart beat) is a recognized, yet uncommon side effect. But bradycardia is not an irregular heart rhythm. — Dr. Slonim

Q: My boy, who is 11 years old, is undergoing glaucoma treatments. He has had a pressure curve test, an RHT and slit light evaluation. All information validates diagnosis of juvenile hereditary glaucoma, in the early stage.

He was given some drops to use routinely, but I was informed that some drugs can induce sexual problems due to beta obstructing action. Exist brand-new drugs that are more reputable for this disease? — A.G., Argentina

A: Many of the anti-glaucoma mediations can have systemic side effects. As the drops are soaked up into the eye, some of the medication gets soaked up into the blood stream and can, therefore, impact other parts of the body.

There are a variety of great glaucoma medications. Nevertheless, each has its own set of possible systemic side effects. The main goal is to keep the eye pressure under control with the minimal amount of medication.

Some beta blocker type glaucoma medication can cause impotence and/or reduce one’s libido.

If an undesirable systemic side effect does happen, then another medication might have to be replaced. — Dr. Slonim

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Comments: 1
  1. Iris Martin

    I have actually had fairly high pressures (high 20’s to low 30’s mmHg, with the air puff meter) for the last couple of years. My Dr. states he sees no modification in the optic nerve since yet, which he will keep an “eye” on it. The perimetry test likewise was normal. I am just 45, but I am concerned that having these high pressures with time will become glaucoma and will effect my sight prior to it is captured.

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