What Is An Eye Pressure Test And Why Is It Important?

23 April 2020
 Categories: , Blog


Having the pressure in your eyes checked is a normal part of any eye exam. But if you've never been through this particular diagnostic test and don't know what to expect, it might make you feel a little nervous. Here's a quick walkthrough of why it's so important to monitor the pressure in your eyes and how it's accomplished by your eye doctor.

Why Eye Pressure Matters

Eye pressure is extremely important. When there's too little or too much eye pressure, it tends to be dangerous for the entire health of the eye. For example, an excess of eye pressure is often a symptom that develops that, when left untreated, can lead to glaucoma. Since glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in old age, it's very important to monitor your eye pressure and to take steps to control it if needed.

What Changes Eye Pressure

Lots of things can potentially change your eye pressure, starting with the medications that you take. Certain medications have it as a side effect, which can pose a problem for your eye health. In addition, some people simply develop higher eye pressure later in life naturally, as the fluid inside the eye starts to build up and doesn't drain adequately. When this happens, pressure increases and eventually glaucoma can develop.

The Test

Getting your eyes checked is a very simple process. There are a couple of ways that your eye pressure test might be performed. Here's a look at both.

One way your eyes might be tested is with an applanation instrument. This looks like a small pencil with the lead retracted. Your eyes will be numbed first and then your eye doctor will gently tap the instrument onto the surface of each eye several times. This is in order to get an average measurement of what the eye pressure is. 

Alternatively, your doctor may use a tool called a tonometer. Tonometers don't require anesthetic so they're preferred by many doctor's offices. With a tonometer, a tiny harmless puff of air is blown towards your eye and the way that the air refracts is measured by the tonometer. Your eye will reflect the air more quickly and strongly if pressure is high, whereas if pressure is normal or low, the air will bounce back more slowly.

Having the pressure in your eyes checked is a simple process that's painless and easy to go through. Don't skip this diagnostic procedure that could end up saving your vision someday. Talk to a specialist, like those at Cripe Stephens & Stickel or other offices, for more information.