an older man getting his eyes examined, AMD, prevent macular degeneration

When you visit the eye doctor for a routine checkup, a key part of the exam is checking intraocular pressure. That’s to test for glaucoma. This is especially important for patients who have been diagnosed with elevated eye pressure. High pressure inside the eye can harm the optic nerve and interfere with vision.

Checking Eye Pressure at Home:

While many people are accustomed to measuring their own blood pressure with a home monitor, few if any glaucoma patients have measured their own eye pressure. A recent study of 100 individuals with glaucoma found, however, that the majority could do so successfully if they received training in the ophthalmologist’s office. As part of the training, the patients received a special tonometer to use for this purpose.

Keeping an Eye on Glaucoma:

The investigators point out that self-measurement of eye pressure would allow patients and their eye doctors a better understanding of how their glaucoma was progressing. This, in turn, would facilitate better control of the condition over time.

JAMA Ophthalmology, online, Aug 31, 2017

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  1. jim
    Jupiter, FL 33458

    Thank you for this article on measuring eye pressure at home, I had no idea this was possible. Can you show a picture of the tonometer you referenced? TY. JIM

  2. DB

    Can you at least give us a hint as to how people are checking their own eye pressure? I love my opthalmologist but he is reluctant to even tell me what my pressure is as long as it is in the acceptable range. (Yes, I find that odd but I think he thinks that if I am at high end of range then I’ll worry needlessly. Otherwise he is a wonderful doctor and I really like him.

    But I don’t see him telling me how to test my own pressure and my insurance will only cover one visit per year — so any advice you can give will be helpful and appreciated.) Thank you very much.

    • Terry Graedon

      Testing your own eye pressure requires special equipment and training. In other words, it is not yet ready for a rollout to DIY. But the research shows that in principle, this is something patients could do.

  3. EG

    Your eyesight is too precious to play with by yourself. Testing your intraocular pressure with a tonopen by yourself at home is asking for trouble. Your eye must be touched with the tonopen to obtain the pressure which is why a numbing eye drop in put in your eye before the pressure is measured in an ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s office. I worked for an ophthalmologist for 25 years and just retired. I cannot imagine taking your intraocular pressure, yourself, at home, can be safe. Any mistake and you could have severe eye damage.

  4. Eye surgeon
    Goldsboro NC

    This is a promising technology for figuring out what may be happening with our patients outside of office hours. Unfortunately, I think only a small percentage of patients will be willing or able to make the measurements themselves. A motivated family member may be able to assist another portion.

    The tendency to blink or squeeze when anything approaches the eye is simply too strong in many people. Even in the office with trained professionals it can be a challenge, and different observers may get significantly different readings on the same patient. Still it will be of some use if the instrument can be made available in a cost-effective manner.

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