You might dread getting the “air puff” test when you have your eye exam. “Do I really have to get this done?” you might ask yourself. The answer is YES. “Can I skip this one, I don’t have glaucoma” you might ask again, the answer is NO. The intraocular pressure check is a crucial element of a thorough eye exam. Another way of measuring your ocular pressure is by Goldman Tonometry, in which the eye is numbed and the instrument touches your cornea.
First off, you might be wondering “what IS eye pressure?” Inside of our eyes is an “aqueous humor”, which is essentially fluid that keeps our eyes inflated (think of air inside of a balloon). The aqueous humor is always in continuous circulation, eventually draining out the front of the eye where the iris meets the cornea. When the ocular pressure is too high or too low, it can cause damage to the optic nerve. It’s important for the doctor to have a record of your pressure at each eye exam. If your eye pressure has been consistent for a few years and then is drastically different at your next exam, it may be an indication that something is wrong. Aside from glaucoma, other factors such as: medications, eye trauma and inflammation from an eye infection can affect your eye pressure. It is important to make sure your pressure is healthy in order to avoid optic nerve damage. Damaging your optic nerve can result in loss of vision.
The bottom line - checking your intraocular pressures is a very important part of your eye check and should not be avoided!