Unfortunately, the answer is not any single number. Glaucoma is a multi-factorial, complex eye disease with specific characteristics such as optic nerve damage and visual field loss. While high eye pressure (known as intraocular pressure or IOP) is usually present, even patients with normal range IOP can develop glaucoma.
The best form of protection is prevention. The highly experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists at Hill Vision Services can perform regular comprehensive eye examinations to monitor your eye pressure and check for signs of the onset of glaucoma.
How Eye Pressure is Measured
Eye pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). About 90 percent of people will fall between a pressure range of 10 and 21 with the average eye pressure being approximately 15 mm Hg. Eye pressure greater than 21 mm Hg is considered higher than normal, but even so, that does not mean eye pressure of 22 or higher is abnormal. Every individual and every eye is different.
Why Check Eye Pressure
Whether or not you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you should have regular eye exams to get your eye pressure checked because early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is the key to preventing vision loss.
When the IOP is higher than normal but the person does not show signs of glaucoma, this is referred to as ocular hypertension. High eye pressure alone does not cause glaucoma, but it is a significant risk factor. A person with elevated IOP is referred to as a glaucoma suspect.
What Happens When Eye Pressure is High?
If diagnosed with glaucoma and the eye pressure is too high for the specific individual, damage can occur to the optic nerve, which may result in vision loss. The peripheral (side) vision is usually affected first and the changes may be so gradual that they are not noticed until a lot of vision loss has already occurred.
Eye pressure control plays a major role in glaucoma treatment. Treatments to try to lower eye pressure could include medicated drops, laser procedures, glaucoma surgery, or a combination of these.
Over time, if the glaucoma is not treated, central vision will also be decreased and then lost — which is how visual impairment from glaucoma is most often noticed. However, glaucoma can be managed if detected early. With medical and/or surgical treatment, most people with glaucoma will not lose their sight.
Glaucoma Treatment in St. Louis Area
To monitor your eye health and prevent vision loss from glaucoma, visit the ophthalmologists and eye doctors at Hill Vision Services in Creve Coeur, Lake St. Louis, or Glen Carbon IL. Request an appointment with our eye care experts today!