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A 36-year-old member asked:

what eye pressure do doctors start patients on eye drops to prevent glaucoma?

5 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Hussain Elhalis
Ophthalmology 11 years experience
Your eye doctor: will look to see if the eye pressure can be monitored or needs treatment. Most people fall in the range of 10-21 but this does not mean that 22 requires treatment. The doc can perform tests to see if your eye pressure is causing any optic nerve damage. If the exam and testing is otherwise normal, the doctor may choose to monitor you without treatment at first. Follow up is important. Be well.
Dr. Douglas Liva
Ophthalmology 40 years experience
Depends: Every patient needs a risk analysis of the various risk factors. Based on that analysis a target pressure is determined. As a group only about 10% of patients with IOP 24 or greater will develop glaucoma therefore not all patients with elevated need to be treated. I have many patients with elevated pressure that I have followed for decades who have not developed glaucoma.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Varies: Generally anyone with a pressure above 29 will be started on eyedrops to control the pressure. Below that level, it depends upon the other parameters measured in your eyes, your history, and the estimate of the convenience for you to get regular examinations.
Dr. Benjamin Chun
Ophthalmology 28 years experience
Complicated: This is a complicated question. We don't always go by pressure. Generally we treat only when glaucoma is diagnosed, not to prevent. Having said that, i think most doctors would start treating if pressure is greater than 30, has a family history and corneal thickness is normal (thick corneas can artificailly increase eye pressure), and large cupping, even if visual field is normal.
Dr. Constance Okeke
Ophthalmology 21 years experience
It depends...: on the individual. If the glaucoma is early, moderate, or severe, then the target eye pressure will be set according to the appearance of the optic nerve, visual field test, and a number of other tests for glaucoma. Typically though, if the pressure approaches the mid to upper 20s or higher, treatment is usually started.

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Last updated Aug 21, 2019

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