Raised intraocular pressure (IOP) still holds pride of place as the principal risk factor for developing glaucoma. The detrimental effects of chronically elevated IOP on the optic disc are well known. However, the clinical significance of acutely raised IOP is less certain. Transient acute elevations of intraocular pressure (IOP spikes) occur following many surgical and laser procedures. Cataract extraction, glaucoma surgery, pars plana vitrectomy with fluid air exchange, Nd-YAG capsulotomy, or peripheral iridotomy, and laser trabeculoplasty all have been reported to be associated with variable IOP spikes in the early postoperative period. There is considerable diversity of opinion concerning how these IOP spikes should best be managed. We have reviewed the nature and quality of the available experimental and clinical data relating to IOP spikes and we offer some broad, general guidelines for their clinical management.
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