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Ocular hypertension overview

Published: October 29, 2017. Updated: October 30, 2017

Ocular hypertension is the presence of elevated intraocular pressure above 21 mmHg regardless of whether glaucomatous nerve damage is present or not.

The normal range of introcular pressure is between 10 mmHg and 21 mmHg. Elevated intraocular pressure above 21 mmHg predisposes to open-angle glaucoma and subsequent visual field loss, optic nerve damage and loss of vision.

Clinical Presentation

Patients may complain of multicolored halos, eye pain, redness, and headache.


Tonometry is used to determine the intraocular pressure. Other investigations include slit-lamp examination of the anterior segment, fundus examination of the optic nerves, as well as pachymetry.


Medications that lower intraocular pressure include anti-glaucoma prostaglandin agonists, beta-blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and alpha agonists.

Laser trabeculoplasty and surgical therapy are used if control cannot be achieved with medications

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