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Ocular Hypertension

When to Seek Medical Care

Regular eye examinations with an ophthalmologist are important to screen for ocular hypertension and primary open-angle glaucoma. In particular, regular eye examinations are critical for those people who are at high risk, such as blacks and elderly persons.


  • For people without any symptoms and who are aged 40 years and younger, screenings should be performed at least every 3-5 years.

  • Screenings should be conducted more often if the person is black or older than 40 years.

  • For people with multiple risk factors for glaucoma, evaluation/monitoring should be performed on an even more frequent basis.

Your initial visit to the ophthalmologist is extremely important in the evaluation of ocular hypertension to detect glaucoma or other ocular diseases that could be causing elevated intraocular hypertension (called secondary glaucoma).

During this visit, the ophthalmologist will ask you about the following:

  • Past ocular history

    • Eye pain or redness

    • Multicolored halos

    • Headache

    • Previous eye disease, eye surgery, or eye/head trauma

  • Past surgeries or illnesses

  • Current medications (Some medications may indirectly cause changes in intraocular pressure.)

  • Strong risk factors for optic nerve damage due to glaucoma

    • History of elevated intraocular pressure

    • Advanced age, particularly people who are older than 50 years

    • African American descent

    • Family history of glaucoma

    • Nearsightedness (myopia)

  • Possible risk factors for optic nerve damage due to glaucoma

  • Other possible risk factors

    • Obesity

    • Smoking

    • Alcohol use

    • History of stress or anxiety (no definitive link to ocular hypertension)

Questions to Ask the Doctor


  • Is my eye pressure elevated?

  • Are there any signs of internal eye damage due to an injury?

  • Are there any optic nerve abnormalities on my examination?

  • Is my peripheral vision normal?

  • Is treatment necessary?

  • How often should I undergo follow-up examinations?
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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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