Author: Jerald A. Bell, MD, Consulting Staff, Department of Ophthalmology, Deaconess Billings Clinic, Billings, Montana.
Coauthor(s): Lauri Graham, Medical Writer, , Inc.
Editors: Richard W. Allinson, MD, Associate Professor, Division of Ophthalmology, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Scott and White Clinic; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Robert H. Graham, MD, Ophthalmologist, Robert H. Graham, MD, PC; Affiliated With Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona and Carl T Hayden VA Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona.
Ocular hypertension should not be considered a disease by itself. Instead, ocular hypertension is a term that is used to describe individuals who should be observed more closely than the general population for the onset of open-angle glaucoma . Glaucoma is an eye disease in which characteristic optic nerve damage occurs, accompanied by an intraocular pressure that is relatively too high for the eye. Although most patients with glaucoma have ocular hypertension for a period of time prior to the onset of glaucoma, there are often patients who have glaucoma with normal intraocular pressures. The word tension is sometimes used as a synonym for pressure. These patients have what is termed normal tension glaucoma (NTG) or low-tension glaucoma (LTG). Another phrase that is commonly used to describe patients who may develop glaucoma in the future is glaucoma suspect. A glaucoma suspect usually has elevated intraocular pressure, but this group also includes patients with normal pressures whose optic nerve appears to be at risk for glaucomatous damage.