Some people think they need only visit an optometrist if they find it difficult to focus on distant objects or may strain to read a book under normal conditions. Yet, while this expert can certainly prescribe glasses or contact lenses to correct typical vision errors, there are many other reasons to schedule a visit in order to maintain the best eye health. For example, did you know that an optometrist can check for hypertension in your eyes? What is this, and why could it represent a hidden but potentially challenging problem?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a very well-known threat to one's health, but ocular hypertension is a completely different condition. If you suffer from this problem, liquid pressure within your eye is much higher than normal, which could lead to issues associated with the optic nerve.
Movement of Fluid
The eye is filled with a clear fluid (called the aqueous). It can flow into and out of the eye's central chamber and will normally do so without experiencing any issues. However, sometimes the eye will produce too much of this clear fluid, and if it does so, it can increase the pressure within, leading to hypertension. Alternatively, the volume of the aqueous may be okay, but it may not be able to drain as quickly from the eye as it should. This will, in turn, disrupt the normal balance and lead to high eye pressure.
Some people may be at risk of developing this condition if they take certain steroid medications. They may also be vulnerable should they have suffered an eye trauma of some kind in recent time.
Risk of Glaucoma
Elevated pressure within the eye can lead to a disease called glaucoma if left untreated. In this situation, the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain becomes damaged due to the buildup of fluid. It can worsen over time, causing vision loss and potentially blindness should the nerves become so damaged that the eye can no longer function correctly.
The Hidden Problem
Hypertension within the eye causes no symptoms whatsoever. If you have this condition, you may be unaware of it until you go to the optometrist for a regular eye examination. During such an exam, they will conduct a variety of standard tests, helping to pick up hypertension.
When caught early enough, hypertension can be treated with eye drops and further examination. But don't forget, you need to book an eye exam in order to be aware in the first place. Contact local eye examination clinics to learn more.