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How Does It Feel To Have High Eye Pressure?

Eye pressure refers to the intraocular pressure which is different from normal term pressure. It is the major characteristic of a severe eye disorder called glaucoma. Because of high pressure, the optic nerve responsible for vision transfer from eye to brain cell is damaged resulting in loss of vision. The damage occurs if the pressure is above 21 mmHg or 2.8 pka. But in some individuals, the pressure in the intraocular will remain high without causing any damage. This is known as ocular hypertension because of thickness in cornea make the pressure high than normal. Conversely, some people have low pressure with optic nerve damage known as normotensive glaucoma.

How Does It Feel To Have High Eye Pressure?

How Does It Feel To Have High Eye Pressure?

Open and closed angle glaucoma is the type where both have the characteristic feature of intraocular pressure. Open-angle develops very slowly compared to closed and without any pain whereas, closed-abled suddenly develops with severe-eye pain. Headaches, halos around vision, dilated pupils, loss of sights, reddishness, nausea and vomiting are signs and symptoms of the sudden development of closed-angle glaucoma. These condition initiated by optic nerve damage because of high pressure inside eyes can only be reduced if treated at earlier. Sharp pain due to muscle spasm may last for several hours in closed-angle glaucoma. Sometimes, the affected individual’s cornea becomes swollen and the person feels like bubbles of fluid when pressure is high pressure.

The closed angle is irreversible as it causes a multifactorial deleterious effect of optic nerve injury and retinal ganglion cell death. This type is a well-known of the cause of dry eyes and patients feel often like eyes full of sand. Gritty sensation in the early morning which may get worse during the day hours. Dry eyes may vary in the condition, it depends on the severity of the disease and mostly associated with itching sensation and uncomfortable in the eyes. Medical grade tears have some positive effects and soothe the dry eyes, but it may not help for all individuals. It may irritate because of the salt like a deposition in the lower lid.

Glaucoma in some patient may progress slowly without any symptoms or signs. The condition is called “silent thief of sight” and research still don’t know the cause of the slow progress. This disease also occurs in children and infants but very rarely. This condition is known as “congenital glaucoma” which may occur at the time of birth because of abnormality in the drainage. If diagnosed before 3 years it is infantile and juvenile after 3 years of age. If intraocular pressure is in elevated level, the eyes will become enlarged. Cornea makes the abnormal enlargement and injures the cells resulting in corneal clouding and sensitivity of lights.

Congenital glaucoma is a serious threat to infants, which is associated with many systemic conditions such as neurofibromatosis, congenital rubella, Lowe syndrome, Sturge-Weber syndrome, and Marfan syndrome. If the disorder is doubted in the early stages, infants or juvenile is typically tested under general anesthesia in order to measure the eye pressure accurately. The identification of angle form and damage level of the optic nerve will be helpful in treating the infants. If congenital glaucoma is identified, it is treated with a surgical procedure called a goniotomy.

Several sports-related injuries (for example, basketball and boxing) affect the drainage system cause the pressure increase in the eyes. It is called as secondary glaucoma, in many cases, it is often referred as “traumatic glaucoma” which occurs immediately after the injury or many years later the injury. “Pigmentary glaucoma” is another form of secondary glaucoma, occurring when the pigment granules behind the iris infiltrate into the aqueous humor which is produced within the eye. These granules then flow towards the drainage canals meant for drainage of aqueous humor and gradually start to block them. Over time, these canals get completely blocked which results in significant damage to the drainage system of the eye leading to high pressure in the eye.

The decrease in pressure within the eyes is the only option to reduce the impact of the disease at the early stages.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Glaucoma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Glaucoma: What Is Glaucoma? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
  3. American Optometric Association. (2021). Glaucoma. https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/glaucoma
  4. All About Vision. (2021). Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, and Treatments. https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/glaucoma.htm

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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