What is ocular hypertension?

Ocular hypertension means that the pressure inside your eye, known as the intraocular pressure, is higher than normal levels. It’s something your optometrist will usually keep an eye on during regular eye tests, as some people with this condition are at a greater risk of developing glaucoma, which could lead to vision loss. That’s why it’s important that your eye pressure levels are regularly checked.

What are the symptoms of ocular hypertension?

You won’t normally have any symptoms with ocular hypertension, and it’s unlikely that it will cause any problems with your vision. But it can sometimes develop into glaucoma, which can affect your vision.

What causes ocular hypertension?

Our eyes contain a fluid called the aqueous humour, which provides nutrients to the eye and removes waste. Eye pressure is determined by a balance in the production and drainage of this fluid. Ocular hypertension happens when the fluid is unable to drain out of the eye properly and increases the eye pressure.

How is it diagnosed?

During regular eye tests with your optometrist, they’ll carry out a few tests in order to check your eye pressure and look out for any signs of glaucoma.

That includes measuring your eye pressure with an instrument called a tonometer - they’ll be looking for anything above 24mmHg. They’ll also do a visual field test, which checks your side vision (where glaucoma usually begins) and take a good look at the health of your optic nerve.

If they have any concerns about your eye pressure, they’ll refer you to specialists like us to carry out a few more tests that will help us to determine if you have ocular hypertension.

How do I get referred?

Find out how

What is the difference between ocular hypertension and glaucoma?

Although both of these conditions are closely linked, there is a difference between the two. Ocular hypertension just means that your pressure is raised, with a risk of developing into glaucoma. But it’s important to note that not everyone who has ocular hypertension will develop glaucoma.

Glaucoma happens when the raised pressure starts to cause damage to your visual field, which means there’s some vision loss.  

What are the risk factors of ocular hypertension?

Ocular hypertension can develop in anyone, but there are a few risk factors to be aware of, including:

  • Having family members who’ve had ocular hypertension or glaucoma

  • Ageing (the chances increase as you get older)

  • Having very high levels of short-sightedness

  • Being of African-Caribbean descent

  • Taking certain medications (some side effects can affect eye pressure)

  • Injuring your eye (even if it was years ago, it can have an effect on eye pressure)

Treatments for ocular hypertension

You might be prescribed special eye drops that will help to reduce the pressure in your eyes.

Because ocular hypertension is closely linked to glaucoma, treatment will also involve regular monitoring to keep an eye out for any signs that glaucoma is developing. It’s all about making sure they’re at safe levels so that your vision is protected.

How do I get referred?

Your optician or GP will discuss the various treatment options available to you and where you can choose to have your treatment. You’ll be able to take the time to decide where you’d like to be treated, and your optician or GP will make the arrangements for your referral to Newmedica.

Ocular hypertension treatment and monitoring are only available on the NHS with us.

Find your nearest clinic


Unit 1B and 1C Midland Place, Barlborough Links, Chesterfield, S43 4FR

NHS Private

Riverside Surgery, Barnard Avenue, Brigg, DN20 8AS

NHS Private
Bristol - Aztec West

Building 720, Waterside Drive, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4UD

NHS Private
Bristol - Litfield House

Litfield House Medical Centre, 1 Litfield Place, Clifton Down, Bristol, BS8 3LS

NHS Private (unavailable)
Gloucester Aspen

Aspen Medical Centre, Horton Road, Gloucester, GL1 3PX

NHS Private

Cromwell Primary Care Centre, 1st Floor, Cromwell Road, Grimsby, DN31 2BH

NHS Private

Mendip Vale Medical Centre, Pudding Pie Lane, Langford, BS40 5EL

NHS Private

St Martins House, 210 Chapeltown Road, Leeds, LS7 4HZ

NHS Private (unavailable)

29-30 Market Place, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, TS3 6HR

NHS Private

Unit 2 Westbury Court, Anglia Way, Moulton Park, Northampton, NN3 6JA

NHS Private

Tottle Road, Riverside Business Park, Nottingham, NG2 1RT

NHS (unavailable) Private

Swindon NHS Health Centre, 1 Islington Street, Swindon, SN1 2DQv

NHS Private

106 Barnsley Road, Wakefield, WF1 5NX

NHS Private

Getting referred to Newmedica

If you think you have an eye condition, you should see your optician or GP for a detailed assessment. They’ll go through all the options available and tell you where you can have your treatment.

The referral process will differ slightly depending on whether you want to be an NHS or private patient. You’ll find all the information you need on our NHS and private patient pages.

Are you a health care professional?
Find out how to refer a patient.

NHS patients

Learn more about our NHS services
and how you can be referred.

Read more

Private patients

Find details about our private
options and how to get started.

Read more

Self-referring? Call 0800 4096 792

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