The Significance of Your Eye Pressure


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Your eye pressure, or intraocular pressure, refers to the pressure exerted by the fluid inside the eye against the eye’s outer covering, the cornea and sclera. This pressure is essential for maintaining the shape of the eye and ensuring proper functioning of the optic nerve. Normal intraocular pressure is vital for maintaining the structural integrity of the eye and supporting optimal vision. However, when the pressure becomes too high or too low, it can lead to various eye conditions and vision problems.

Measuring Eye Pressure:

  • Goldmann Applanation Tonometry (GAT): This is considered the gold standard for measuring intraocular pressure. It involves gently touching the cornea with a small, flat-tipped device to flatten a specific area. GAT provides accurate and reliable results and is widely used in clinical practice.
  • Non-Contact Tonometry (NCT): Also known as air-puff tonometry, this method uses a puff of air directed at the cornea to measure intraocular pressure. NCT is quick, non-invasive, and well-tolerated by most patients, making it suitable for screening purposes.
  • Rebound Tonometry: In this method, a handheld device emits a small probe that gently taps the cornea. Rebound tonometry is portable, easy to use, and does not require the use of numbing eye drops.
  • Dynamic Contour Tonometry (DCT): DCT utilizes a flexible sensor tip that conforms to the shape of the cornea. DCT provides accurate readings even in the presence of corneal irregularities and is particularly useful in patients with corneal conditions.
  • Corneal Response Tonometry (CRT): CRT measures intraocular pressure by analyzing the cornea’s response to a controlled air impulse. CRT can provide valuable information about the cornea’s health in addition to measuring pressure.


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What Does My Eye Pressure Mean?

  • Normal Intraocular Pressure (Normal IOP): The normal range for intraocular pressure is typically between 10 and 21 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). However, this range can vary slightly from person to person, and some individuals may have slightly higher or lower pressures within a healthy range.
  • High Intraocular Pressure (Ocular Hypertension): High intraocular pressure, also known as ocular hypertension, refers to elevated pressure levels above the normal range. Ocular hypertension is a risk factor for developing glaucoma, a progressive eye condition characterized by optic nerve damage and vision loss if left untreated. Regular monitoring and appropriate management are essential for individuals with ocular hypertension to prevent potential complications.
  • Low Intraocular Pressure (Ocular Hypotension): Low intraocular pressure, or ocular hypotension, occurs when pressure levels fall below the normal range. While ocular hypotension may not always cause symptoms, it can sometimes be associated with conditions such as eye trauma, inflammation, or certain medications. In some cases, low intraocular pressure may be a sign of ocular pathology and should be evaluated by an eye care professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate management.

Intraocular Pressure and Glaucoma

One of the most significant reasons why monitoring intraocular pressure is crucial is its association with glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that can result in optic nerve damage and vision loss. Elevated intraocular pressure is a primary risk factor for glaucoma, but early detection and treatment can preserve your eye health and vision..


Photo by Antoni Shkraba

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are essential, not only to update your glasses, but also for monitoring  your intraocular pressure and detecting any changes in eye health. Be proactive and don’t neglect routine eye exams – your eyesight is too precious!

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.