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April 1977

'Glaucoma Suspect' or 'Ocular Hypertension'?

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Arch Ophthalmol. 1977;95(4):588. doi:10.1001/archopht.1977.04450040054004

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More than 15 years ago, various studies made it clear that many eyes tolerated pressures far above the statistical normal for long periods of time. Until these studies were done, it would have been considered close to malpractice if hypertensive eyes were not treated. Yet we knew that undesirable side effects were present with all the antiglaucomatous medications.

The term ocular hypertension was coined to describe eyes with increased intraocular pressure, but with undamaged optic discs and normal fields of vision. The older ophthalmologists then became psychologically more willing to follow up (but not treat) such patients when the condition was called "ocular hypertension" rather than "possible glaucoma."

A problem has since arisen because some medical students, residents, and ophthalmologists have been lulled into a false sense of security. In their minds, the term ocular hypertension implies a benign process. As a result, some patients have suffered serious visual loss

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