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Low Eye Pressure: Common Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Gina Walters


low eye pressure

Low eye pressure, also called Ocular Hypotension, is a condition where the pressure within the eye is unusually low.  

It is less common than high eye pressure but is a concerning ocular condition that requires attention and treatment. 

This article aims to understand low eye pressure, its symptoms, causes, and treatment techniques.

What is low eye pressure

Low eye pressure, also known as Hypotony or Ocular Hypotension, is a condition characterized by unusually low pressure within the eye.

The pressure within the eye is known as intraocular pressure (IOP), which falls below the normal range in Ocular Hypotension.

The normal eye pressure range is 8-21 mm for about 90 percent of the population. Therefore, eye pressure below 8 mm Hg may indicate Ocular Hypotension.

Typically, these low pressures don’t significantly affect eyesight, but the risk of blurred vision increases with eye pressures lower than 6 mm Hg.

Several factors can cause eye pressure to decrease, such as certain medical conditions, medications, or prior eye surgeries.

Know about the various ways to lower eye pressure with our article: How to Lower Eye Pressure and Improve Your Vision

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Low eye pressure symptoms

Blurry-visionSource: piotr_malczyk
Blurry vision(Symptom)

Low eye pressure is less common than high eye pressure, but it’s essential to recognize the symptoms. 

The symptoms of low eye pressure include blurred vision, floaters, eye discomfort, and changes in the visual field. 

Blurred vision: Low eye pressure can cause objects to appear less distinct or sharp, leading to blurry or distorted vision.

Discomfort: Low eye pressure can sometimes cause mild discomfort or a sensation of fullness in the eye.

Reduction in peripheral vision: People with low eye pressure may start losing their peripheral vision, affecting their ability to see objects from the corner of their eye.

Sensitivity to light (Photophobia): Individuals may experience increased sensitivity to light, finding it uncomfortable or irritating.

Explore everything about pressure behind eyes with our article: Pressure Behind the Eye and its Potential Risk Factors

Do not attempt to self-diagnose or treat low eye pressure without professional guidance. It’s important to contact a qualified healthcare provider if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.

What causes low eye pressure

Eye pressure can fall below the normal range due to various factors, including age, medical conditions, medication side effects, inflammation, or previous eye surgeries.

Age is a natural risk factor for low eye pressure. Changes in the eye’s structure and function can cause a gradual decrease in eye pressure. 

Many medical conditions can also contribute to low eye pressure, including:

  • Systemic conditions (low blood pressure, shock, or cardiovascular diseases)
  • Inflammation or Uveitis (they can disrupt the delicate balance of fluid and pressure within the eye)
  • Retinal detachment (the detachment of the retina from the eye’s inner surface can lead to a drop in eye pressure)
  • Ocular conditions (Choroidal Effusion or Suprachoroidal Hemorrhage)
It is important to follow the post-operative instructions given by your healthcare team after undergoing eye surgery. It can help effectively manage any temporary fluctuations in eye pressure. 

Low eye pressure can also be a temporary post-surgical symptom of certain procedures. It is common to experience low eye pressure after cataract surgery.

Also, some eye surgeries, particularly those involving fluid drainage from the eye, such as trabeculectomy, can lower eye pressure. 

Certain medications, especially Glaucoma eye drops, can cause a decrease in eye pressure.

Additionally, Corticosteroids, when used in high doses or extended periods, can lead to low eye pressure.

Recommended read: Some Glaucoma medicines may not be safe for you! Know more — Glaucoma Medications to Avoid: What You Need to Know

How to increase low eye pressure

The ideal low eye pressure treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition. 

If the condition occurs as a side effect of medicines, your doctor may adjust your dosage or recommend a different medicine. 

In most cases, closely monitoring eye pressure may be adequate, especially if the condition is likely temporary. 

In rare cases, however, surgical intervention may be recommended to address severe problems with eye pressure.

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Key takeaways

Low eye pressure, or Ocular Hypotension, involves unusually low intraocular pressure or pressure within the eye.

It is not as common as high eye pressure but can cause various effects on the eye, such as blurred vision, floaters, and discomfort. 

Thus, it is essential to recognize the symptoms of low pressure to determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Timely detection and proper treatment are crucial for maintaining excellent eye health.  

Regular eye checkups are important for identifying and addressing potential eye pressure concerns. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is low eye pressure bad?

Low eye pressure is usually not a cause for worry, but it can lead to complications if not managed appropriately.

What is low eye pressure for adults?

Low eye pressure is generally characterized by pressures below the normal eye pressure range, normally 8 and 21 mm Hg in adults.

What does low eye pressure indicate?

Low eye pressure may indicate a range of underlying causes, such as post-surgical effects, medication side effects, or systemic conditions.

Can low eye pressure cause blindness?

Low eye pressure is not a common or direct cause of blindness. However, severe or chronic cases may contribute to optic nerve damage, leading to visual impairment.

What is the treatment for low eye pressure?

The treatment for low eye pressure depends on the underlying cause and may involve medication adjustments, monitoring, or, in rare cases, surgical intervention.

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