High eye strain: causes and treatment
When you talk about high ocular tension, means that the pressure inside the eye is higher than normal. The consequences of this are not predictable. Some people have this problem and never get an eye damage, while in other cases there is a total loss of vision.
One of the difficulties of high eye strain is that, In most cases, it takes place without being noticed by the person who suffers. It produces no symptoms, until it is probably too late. The only way to prevent this problem is to have regular medical check-ups.
There are some people who are more predisposed to suffer from high eye strain. Among them are those who have a family history of this problem, or glaucoma, as well as those over 40, hypertensive, nearsighted and those who have used steroids for a long time, among others.
What is high eye strain?
The eye maintains a certain internal pressure, which allows it to function properly and maintain its shape. The aqueous humor It is a substance that is in the eye and is responsible for balancing that pressure, to a large degree. This nourishes and oxygenates the cornea and the lens.
Aqueous humor is a transparent liquid. If the amount of this humor in the eye stays constant, eye pressure is normal. But if it increases, or does not evacuate properly, the consequence is a high ocular tension. The optic nerve is then pressed and this can give rise to several vision problems.
When there is high eye strain, the risks of glaucoma they increase from 10 to 15 times. Glaucoma, in turn, is a very serious optical disease, which can lead to complete loss of vision. For that reason, ocular hypertension is a problem that should never be overlooked.
Eye pressure and the absence of symptoms
As we indicated before, one of the main difficulties of ocular hypertension is that, in the vast majority of cases, it occurs without causing any symptoms. The only way to detect it is by exam professional, with a device called a tonometer.
The tonometer allows to measure the tension of the fluids in the eye. Intraocular Pressure (IOP) levels are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). If they are in a range between 11-22 mmHg, the eye tension is normal. If they exceed that limit, there is high eye strain.
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Main factors that lead to the development of ocular hypertension They are as follows:
- Excess aqueous humor production. Aqueous humor occurs in an area of the eye called the ciliary body. If this is generated in an abnormal amount, the pressure in the eye increases.
- Insufficient drainage of aqueous humor. The aqueous humor drains out of the eye through a structure called trabecular meshwork. If drainage is not efficient, the tension in the eye increases.
- Medication effect. Some medications generate high eye strain; in particular, those that contain steroids.
- Eye trauma. Lesions in the eye can lead to excessive production of aqueous humor or to drainage failures.
- Eye diseases. Pseudoexfoliative syndrome and pigmentary dispersion syndrome and the corneal arch, particularly, tend to increase the tension in the eye.
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The treatment of ocular hypertension it is done through drugs, laser procedures or surgical interventions. The health professional will determine which one to choose, according to the characteristics of each case.
Some of the available treatments are as follows:
- Use of eye hypotensors. They are drugs to decrease the production of aqueous humor or increase its drainage. They come in the form of drops to apply regularly to the eye.
- Trabeculoplasty. It is carried out with argon laser, on the trabeculum. Seeks to increase the flow of aqueous humor.
- Transsclereal cyclophotocoagulation. It is carried out with laser, on the ciliary body. Reduces the production of aqueous humor.
- Deep non-perforating sclerectomy. It is a perforation in the white part of the eye (sclera) to facilitate drainage.
- Iridoplasty. It is an argon laser procedure to favor drainage of aqueous humor.
- Iridotomy. It is carried out with YAG or argon laser to facilitate drainage of aqueous humor.
If glaucoma has already developed, it is usual to go to interventions as application of drainage devices or valves, goniotomy, trabeculostomy with excimer laser or MIGS (Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery). The latter also applies to cases of ocular hypertension.