What is ocular hypertension and why is it important?

Written by: Mr Vik Sharma
Published: | Updated: 27/11/2023
Edited by: Bronwen Griffiths

Ocular hypertension (OHT) is the name given to a healthy eye, with normal function, which has a consistently higher intraocular pressure (IOP) than the upper limit of normal. Here, Mr Vik Sharma explains the importance of ocular hypertension and monitoring your eye pressure through eye checks.

What can cause ocular hypertension?

Ocular hypertension can be related to genetics and can run in families. Persistent high IOP can cause glaucoma as well, so monitoring eye pressure is important.  Other causes of high IOP include drugs (steroid use for example), or secondary causes such as inflammation within the eye.


What is considered normal eye pressure?

Eye pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), and normal eye pressure (IOP) is within the range of 10-21 mm Hg. People with above average eye pressure can be at risk from developing glaucoma.


What does it feel like to have ocular hypertension?

Having ocular hypertension is completely asymptomatic and no discomfort is usually felt. Hence, having regular eye health checks is really important as eye pressure can be monitored. 


How is ocular hypertension treated?

Some people with ocular hypertension will only require observation only to ensure no damage is caused, or if they have a very high IOP (above 30 mm Hg). Eyedrops are often prescribed to help lower eye pressure. However, an alternative and safe treatment option is selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) which lowers eye pressure without the need to use eyedrops.


The laser has less side effects than most eyedrops and there is no downtime or immediate aftercare needed after SLT. SLT works by focusing the laser on the drainage tissue in the eyes, which results in improved drainage which over time reduces the IOP. 


Am I at risk from ocular hypertension?

People with a family history of glaucoma or inflammatory diseases in the eye may be at risk from ocular hypertension. In addition, people on steroids should have regular IOP checks to ensure their eye pressure is not over the normal range.


If you wish to book an appointment with Mr Vik Sharma, simply visit his Top Doctors profile today. 

By Mr Vik Sharma

Mr Vik Sharma is a specialist glaucoma and cataract consultant surgeon based in London who is vastly experienced, and is highly respected in lens, glaucoma, and eyelid surgery, as well as general ophthalmology. Mr Vik Sharma offers new non-penetrating surgical techniques and micro-tube implants, the latest micro-pulse laser treatment, micro-incision cataract surgery with multifocal lens implants and uses topical anaesthesia and on-axis phacoemulsification as part of his technique.

Mr Vik Sharma is the clinical lead for glaucoma, and actively offers patients a new modern service in North London, developing new laser treatments and surgical implants for better eye pressure control.

Mr Vik Sharma is a fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and a fully accredited consultant on the UK General Medical Council Specialist Register, No. 4307574. As well as completing a Glaucoma fellowship in London, he has also undergone further training in Oculo-Plastics at the Premier Facial Plastic Centre in Sarasota, Florida.

He has authored many ophthalmology chapters in medical texts and in peer-reviewed journals and is a Hon.Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology for the University of London. Mr Vik Sharma remains an active member of the medical research field, presenting internationally and locally, discussing research findings and new techniques/treatments while also sitting on the Glaucoma Advisory Board for pharmaceuticals

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