What increases eye pressure?
For those suffering from glaucoma, a high eye pressure could mean the difference between years of healthy eyesight or the quick progression of a horrible disease. As one who has dealt with Open Angle Glaucoma for many years now; I want to show you the various ways that I deal with high IOP (Inter-Ocular Eye Pressure). Yet, let me caution. I am not a licensed doctor, only a patient who has gone through years of treatment.
What is elevated eye pressure?
For those who don't know glaucoma is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. The damage is essentially caused by the build up of aqueous humor, a viscous liquid located between the lens and cornea. (see Figure 1.0). Under normal conditions, aqueous humor is produced by parts of the ciliary body and leaves the eye through a drainage system located at the front of the eye. Yet with glaucoma, the rate of aqueous production and the rate of aqueous drainage are often out of synch. Consequently, this is what is referred to as elevated eye pressure.
Managing/Controlling Elevated Eye Pressure
Now the good stuff. If you've had experience with glaucoma already, your probably on one or many of the glaucoma medications and/or treatments currently available. These include:
-Medications (Eyedrops) e.g. Alphagan, Lumigan, Cosopt.
-Medications (Oral) e.g. Methazolamide
-Surgeries e.g. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Depending on what type of glaucoma you have and the progression of the damage to your optic nerve; your ophthalmologist may use any combination of these treatments to save your sight.
Besides these treatments a growing number of people have found some success with self tonometry. Tonometers are devices used to measure eye pressure. You've probably encountered one while visiting the ophthalmologist's office. Some involve shining a blueish light into your eyes and using dilating drops. Others involve a machine that shoots a puff of air into your eye. Self-Tonometry involves using tonometers to measure one's own eye pressure on a frequent basis. Those who advocate self-tonometry say that it allows them to pinpoint specific activities and times of day when their eye pressure spikes. For instance, some self-tonometry users find that among other things sleeping to long, holding your breath, sleeping with your head down, watching tv, stress, and intercourse increase their eye pressure for varying lengths of time.
In order not to mislead, you should know that not everyone agrees with self-tonometry. Some physicians believe it is far too risky for the average patient who does not fully understand the disease. Their concerns are perfectly understandable for a number of reasons.
1.) Most self-tonometers are the air-puff type and thus not that accurate.
2.) The root cause of Glaucoma is still a little bit of a mystery. For example, glaucoma can involve elevated eye pressure and/or a change in blood flow through the optic nerve.