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    Ocular Hypertension

    Medications continued...

    Your ophthalmologist may schedule your follow-up visits in accordance with the particular drug you are taking, because some medicines (e.g., latanoprost [Xalatan], travoprost [Travatan], bimatoprost [Lumigan]) may take 6-8 weeks to be fully effective.

    During these follow-up visits, your ophthalmologist also observes you for any allergic reactions to the drug. If you are experiencing any side effects or symptoms while on the drug, be sure to tell your ophthalmologist.

    Generally, if the pressure inside the eye cannot be lowered with 1-2 medicines, you might have early primary open-angle glaucoma instead of ocular hypertension. In this case, your ophthalmologist will discuss the appropriate next steps in your treatment plan.

    Surgery

    Laser and surgical therapy are not generally used to treat ocular hypertension, because the risks associated with these therapies are higher than the actual risk of developing glaucomatous damage from ocular hypertension. However, if you cannot tolerate your eye medications, laser surgery could be an option, and you should discuss this therapy with your ophthalmologist.

    Next Steps Follow-up

    Depending on the amount of optic nerve damage and the level of intraocular pressure control, people with ocular hypertension may need to be seen from every 2 months to yearly, even sooner if the pressures are not being adequately controlled.

    Glaucoma should still be a concern in people who have elevated intraocular pressure with normal-looking optic nerves and normal visual field testing results or in people who have normal intraocular pressure with suspicious-looking optic nerves and visual field testing results. These people should be observed closely because they are at an increased risk for glaucoma.

    Prevention

    Ocular hypertension cannot be prevented, but through regular eye examinations with an ophthalmologist, its progression to glaucoma can be prevented.

    Outlook

    The prognosis is very good for people with ocular hypertension.

     

    • With careful follow-up care and compliance with medical treatment, most people with ocular hypertension do not progress to primary open-angle glaucoma, and they retain good vision throughout their lifetime.

    • With poor control of elevated intraocular pressure, continuing changes to the optic nerve and visual field that could lead to glaucoma might occur.
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