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Last updated May 4, 2020. 1 minute read

What is normal eye pressure?

Normal eye pressure is 12–22 mm Hg. Eye pressure—also called the intraocular pressure (IOP)—is the pressure of the fluid inside the eye.

Dr Mike Bohl Md Mph Written by Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH
Reviewed by Dr. Tzvi Doron, DO

Normal eye pressure is 12–22 mm Hg

Eye pressure—also called the intraocular pressure (IOP)—is the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. Normally, fluid is able to flow along a certain path and out drainage canals. However, if this path is blocked, the pressure inside the eye can increase. Increased pressure in the eye damages the blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye, which can cause vision problems and vision loss. This is known as glaucoma. Medication and surgery can be used to help treat increased eye pressure.

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What we mean by normal

In medicine, using the term “normal” can sometimes be off-putting. Saying something is “normal” implies that everything else is “abnormal.” Additionally, saying something is “normal” may not be accurate, since something that is “normal” for you may not be “normal” for somebody else. Therefore, instead of saying certain values are “normal,” alternative terminology may be to say that these values are “healthy” or “within the reference range.”
 
Additionally, some values have well-defined cutoffs, while others do not. For example, when looking at hemoglobin A1c levels, a value of 6.5 or greater is always diagnostic of diabetes. On the other hand, when looking at testosterone levels, some use cutoffs of 270–1,070 ng/dL while others use cutoffs of 300–1,000 ng/dL.
 
The information below represents values that are commonly used as cutoffs. However, depending on the specific source you’re looking at or the laboratory you go to, their values may be a little different.