What causes eye pressure and how to relieve it?

Symptom Database

Eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure, refers to the fluid pressure inside the eye. It is a crucial aspect of maintaining healthy vision, but when the pressure becomes too high, it can lead to various eye conditions, including glaucoma. Understanding the causes of eye pressure and how to relieve it is essential for preserving eye health. In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to high eye pressure, the symptoms associated with it, and effective treatments and remedies to alleviate this condition.

What is Eye Pressure?

Eye pressure, or intraocular pressure, is the force exerted by the fluid (aqueous humor) inside the eye. This fluid is continuously produced and drained to maintain the shape and health of the eye. Under normal circumstances, the eye pressure remains within a certain range, known as the normal eye pressure.

Causes of High Eye Pressure

Several factors can contribute to an increase in eye pressure:

  • Genetics: A family history of glaucoma or high eye pressure can increase the risk of developing elevated intraocular pressure.
  • Age: As we age, the risk of developing high eye pressure and glaucoma increases.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can elevate eye pressure.
  • Eye injuries: Trauma or injury to the eye can disrupt the normal fluid drainage, leading to increased pressure.
  • Medications: Prolonged use of corticosteroids or certain medications can cause elevated eye pressure.

Symptoms of High Eye Pressure

High eye pressure often does not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, as the pressure continues to rise, individuals may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Halos around lights
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as they may indicate a severe condition such as acute angle-closure glaucoma.

Treatment and Relief for Eye Pressure

While high eye pressure cannot be cured, various treatments and lifestyle changes can help manage and relieve the symptoms:


Eye drops are commonly prescribed to reduce eye pressure. These medications work by either decreasing the production of fluid or improving its drainage. It is essential to follow the prescribed dosage and frequency to achieve optimal results.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy, such as selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), can be used to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye. This procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting and can effectively lower eye pressure.


In cases where medications and laser therapy are ineffective, surgical intervention may be necessary. Trabeculectomy, a surgical procedure that creates a new drainage channel for the fluid, is commonly performed to reduce eye pressure.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to managing eye pressure:

  • Regular exercise: Engaging in physical activity can help improve blood flow and reduce eye pressure.
  • Healthy diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can promote eye health.
  • Stress management: Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help lower eye pressure.
  • Limiting caffeine intake: Excessive caffeine consumption can temporarily increase eye pressure, so it is advisable to moderate its intake.


Eye pressure, or intraocular pressure, is a critical aspect of maintaining healthy vision. While high eye pressure can lead to conditions like glaucoma, it can be effectively managed and relieved through various treatments and lifestyle changes. Regular eye examinations are essential to monitor eye pressure and detect any abnormalities at an early stage. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments for high eye pressure, individuals can take proactive steps to preserve their eye health and prevent vision loss.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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