What Causes Ocular Hypertension?

Eye doctor using tonometer on patient

Ocular Hypertension Causes and Treatments

Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure inside your eye begins to rise. Although the increased pressure doesn't damage your eye, it could increase your risk of developing glaucoma. If you've been diagnosed with ocular hypertension, treatment may help prevent the condition from worsening.

Why Does Ocular Hypertension Occur?

Aqueous humor, a clear eye fluid, nourishes the lens inside your eye and creates pressure that helps your eyeball maintain its round shape. Although the pressure usually remains the same, slow drainage or excess fluid could increase it.

If the pressure is too high, you could develop glaucoma, a condition that occurs when high pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve. Light impulses travel from the retina at the back of your eye to the brain via the optic nerve. Once the brain receives the impulses, it converts them into recognizable images. If the optic nerve is damaged, the signals never reach the brain, resulting in partial or complete vision loss. Unfortunately, by the time you notice that something is wrong with your eyesight, it's too late to save your vision.

Who Gets Ocular Hypertension?

You may be more likely to develop ocular hypertension if you are over 40, are extremely nearsighted, or are Hispanic or African American. If family members have glaucoma or ocular hypertension, you may be more likely to develop the condition as well.

Your risk of ocular hypertension increases if you've taken steroid medications for a long time, had an eye injury or eye surgery, have high blood pressure, or diabetes. Low blood pressure and a thinner central cornea could also increase your risk, according to Bright Focus Foundation.

How Can I Tell if I Have Ocular Hypertension?

Ocular hypertension has no symptoms. In fact, you won't notice any changes in your vision if the pressure inside your eye rises. Fortunately, your optometrist can tell if your pressure is too high by performing a simple test during your annual eye exam. Your eye doctor uses an instrument called a tonometer to take an eye pressure reading. The tonometer produces a puff of air that briefly flattens your cornea, the clear tissue that covers your iris and pupil.

How Is Ocular Hypertension Treated?

An ocular hypertension diagnosis doesn't automatically mean you will require treatment or develop glaucoma. In fact, only 25 percent of people who participated in a national ocular hypertension study ever developed vision loss from glaucoma. Researchers who followed up on participants in The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study 20 years later were surprised by the results, as they expected to see much higher rates of vision loss.

You will need to visit your optometrist more often for checkups if you have ocular hypertension. Regular follow-up visits help your eye doctor spot the early signs of glaucoma and offer treatment before the condition can damage your optic nerve and destroy your vision.

If you are eventually diagnosed with glaucoma, your eye doctor may recommend daily prescription eye drops that lower pressure. If blocked drainage channels in your eye are the reason for the pressure increase, you may need a surgical procedure to improve drainage.

Regular eye examinations help your optometrist diagnose and monitor ocular hypertension. Exams are a simple way to protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of vision loss. Contact us if you need to schedule an appointment for an eye exam.


American Academy of Ophthalmology: What Is Ocular Hypertension?, 3/9/21

American Optometric Association: Ocular Hypertension

Bright Focus Foundation: Ocular Hypertension and Glaucoma, 4/23/18

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: Treatment not always needed to prevent vision loss in patients with elevated eye pressure, 4/15/21


Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

We are closed for lunch daily from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM.

Brier Creek Vision Care


8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


9:00 AM - 5:00 PM






  • "Excellent office. Staff is helpful and polite when dealing with my special needs child. They understand when he needs break and how to redirect to another technique to achieve goal. Would highly recommend to others!"
    Jennifer, Raleigh, NC
  • "I needed an eye doctor to see me for my concussion issue that effected my eyesight. There isn't many who are able to assess. Dr. Durham knew just how to work with my case in a gentle manner to help keep me calm. I finally have hope for healing now."
    Elizabeth 3/15/19 - Answer to Prayer
  • "Dr Durham is amazing. She takes the time to hear the patient and is extemely knowlegable."
    Susan 3/16/19 - Amazing
  • "All the staff were very helpful & Susan Durham was very thorough & professional"
    Jill 3/14/19
  • "Dr. Durham and her staff are the best and most knowledgeable dealing with brain injuries. Highly recommended!"
    Kristina 3/11/19 - Absolutely the best!
  • "Thought exam was personal, deteilrd and fully explained. Staff were prompt, kind, snd professional. I’d recommend Dr. Durham’s clinic to anyone needing eye care."
    Thomas 3/10/19
  • "The staff was very polite and extremely patient with my condition. Very specific about my condition and caring to help me recover. We will have a long road to recovery together."
    Elizabeth 3/11/19
  • "Didn't have to wait. Very thorough eye exam."
    Sandy 3/7/19 - Great eye checkup
  • "My visit was more than I could of asked for. I told my friends about my visit to the future. Dr. Dunham was extremely knowledgeable, concerned and determined to get it right, Her staff seemed to respect her greatly. staff was trained very well and gave me the confidence they knew what they were doing.
    I have already told my friends about my visit to the future."
    Patricia 2/24/19 - Everything was perfect.
  • "My daughter and I have have had great experiences at Brier Creek Vision! Dr. N. Is fantastic!! The office staff is super friendly, accommodating and very pleasurable to work with. Eye glass frames are plentiful and the opticians are helpful, suggestive and patient! Thanks to everyone for making all of visits wonderful!!"
    Cynthia 2/14/19 – Great Experience
  • "Dr Nakagawara is open, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Karim Glover in the optical dispensary took great care in explaining and helping me to get great value on a new set of prescription sunglasses that will do much more than my previous set. Extremely happy.
    Loved the Optician!"
    Thomas 2/22/19 - Great Doctors and Team...
  • "I cannot tell you how happy I am with Brier Creek Vision. Everyone from the moment you enter, all the way through the appointment, is knowledgeable friendly and caring. I receive excellent and professional care. Highly recommend!"
    Helen 2/21/19 - Excellent care
  • "Went from 20/30 to 20/20! The sky is the limit with dr Patel. Will continue to bring both my kids here...."
    Temidayo 2/17/19 - Dr Patel Rocks!!!!
  • "I have had nothing but amazing experiences here! The entire staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. I have never walked away unsatisfied."
    Shelby 2/14/19 - Awesome!
  • "This office has all of the latest equipment and skills to take care of your eyes."
    Wales 2/6/19 - Great eye care!
  • "The atmosphere in the office is very pleasant and welcoming. I always feel comfortable in both the waiting room and the exam rooms. Selecting glasses is also a breeze, as the staff is extremely helpful and knowledgable."
    Kris 1/31/19 - Amazing Experience
  • "Our family visit was over the top. The entire staff took their time and made sure each and everyone's exam was through. No pressure to buy glasses. Our experience with Dr. Nakagawara was outstanding!!"
    Melissa 1/31/19 - Recommend
  • "I always have the best visit at Brier Creek Vision. My Doctor, Esther Nakagawara, is the best at what she does! She handles the procedures with care, caution and concern, explains well and has the best solutions to keep your eyes healthy. The staff is accommodating, patient and very kind to everyone; they never mind answering questions. The opticians are helpful in assisting with the selection of eyecare that looks good and works the best for you. I have told many people about my positive experiences at Brier Creek Vision and recommended this office as well."
    Kailah 1/30/19 - The Best in Eyeccare!!
  • "My family and I have been patients of Brier Creek Vision for 2 years. Dr. Nakagawara is a very caring and skilled OD who communicates, teaches and plans well. The staff and optometrists are inviting, knowledgeable and very helpful. We have recommended BCV to all our friends and family!"
    Cynthia 1/30/19 - Highly recommend
  • "I was thrilled to learn about the new Shaw lens concept to treat my daughter's amblyopia!"
    Molly 1/30/19 - Excellent Experience