How to Manage and Reduce Intraocular Eye Pressure (IOP)
When eye fluid, known as the aqueous humor, isn’t circulating properly, intraocular eye pressure (IOP) can increase. Normally, this fluid drains out of the eye through a mesh-like channel; however, if this channel is blocked, the fluid has nowhere to go, causing IOP to increase.
Elevated IOP is one of the leading risk factors for glaucoma. Eye pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and normal eye pressure falls between 12 and 21 mm Hg. Anything above 21 is considered elevated. However, elevated eye pressure does not always mean an individual will develop glaucoma. There is a large group of people called “ocular hypertensives,” who have increased IOP, but do not suffer the optic nerve damage associated with glaucoma. Currently, 4-7% of the United States population over the age of 40 has ocular hypertension, but may not actually ever develop glaucoma.. This is also what we mean by the term Glaucoma Suspect – someone who has signs of glaucoma, like increased IOP, but lacks others, like optic nerve damage or a visual field defect.