Article 44: What is Eye Pressure?

Welcome to Insight Eyecare with your Jenks eye doctor. Today we’re going to be answering another common question from our patients. “What is eye pressure?” Eye pressure is a very important test that we check on all patients here at Insight Eyecare. Today we will break down the definition of eye pressure, where it comes from, what happens if it’s too high, and some other topics about eye pressure. Remember at Insight Eyecare we invest heavily in technology for our patients. We feel it’s our responsibility as their Jenks eye doctor to make sure we have all the available tools to best care for their eyes. Whether these are scanning devices, measuring devices, or even lasers to treat the eyes. If it is an investment that helps our patients, then as their Jenks eye doctor, we feel it is important. Insight Eyecare is very easy to find because we are located in Glenpool across from the Glenpool IHOP.

Today we’re talking about “What is eye pressure?”

Eye pressure is the pressure caused on the eye from the fluid produced behind the colored part of the eye. This pressure has nothing to do with blood pressure, but genetics does play an important role in it. Eye pressure is not something that can be adjusted with a healthy lifestyle. However, the effects of high eye pressure can be worsened from an unhealthy lifestyle. This pressure is measured on many different devices. The newest of which do not have any eye drops or air puffs involved. Most patients have been to a clinic that required the air puff test. This test often feels like torture because the patient is sitting in a chair with their head against the headrest. They are waiting for a random puff of air in their open eyes. The point of any type of eye pressure test is to know the pressure inside the eyes.

It is important to know the pressure inside the eyes because high pressures can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a blinding disease that hurts vision from multiple factors such as high eye pressure. The scary thing with glaucoma is that it is a condition where you never see changes or feel pressure with the eyes until it is too late. It is important to note that when the pressure inside the eye is high the patient does not feel anything unless it’s extremely high.

So if a patient comes to me and they complain of having pressure in or behind their eyes I know to look at something else. The reason we do not take that complaint seriously is the fact that when pressure is high enough inside the eye that you feel it, the pain level goes from a zero to 100 immediately. Usually, patients whose pressures in the eye are 2 to 3 times higher than it should have signs of nausea, vomiting, and clouding in front of the eyes. Usually, the pressure inside the eye is caused by sinuses versus the pressure of the eye.

When we, at Insight Eyecare, determine the pressure of the eye is high we will use one of two tests. The main tests that we use are called an Eyecare Tonometer. This is a little device that uses no air puffs or eye drops to check the pressure of the eyes. The test takes about 30 seconds. What the patient experiences during this eye pressure test are a little movement in their vision and a little tickle in their eyelashes. This is a newer test that is safe and much more efficient when being used between different staff.

The other test is called a Goldman Tonometer. What the patient experiences here is a numbing drop with a yellow tent going on the eye and blue light, on a probe, that comes very close to the eyes. This test has been around for over 50 years and is considered the gold standard of eye pressure tests. However, more recent studies regarding this test show a large variability even when you have it taken from multiple people. That means that the same doctor has to check the pressure on every patient to have a more accurate reading. In today’s healthcare that is not an efficient or smart way to see patients. There are other devices that are more accurate getting pressure even between different users. This means that if I checked the same person’s pressure every time I would be getting a consistent number. For example, 18 & 18 or 17 & 18. However, the next person may take that pressure and it is 20 & 21. That variability is enough that it can cause problems.

If the eye pressure is high we will watch the patient for signs of glaucoma. Simply stated, the newer way we do this is with scanning technology that will find small changes on the optic nerve if the patient starts to get any surface damage. If we suspect that damage is going to occur in the future or has already occurred then a decision is made to start treating the patient for glaucoma. Basic treatments include eyedrops or painless lasers called an SLT laser. Now, this is an extremely short and basic explanation of glaucoma. For a deeper understanding of the SLT laser please see our SLT articles on our website.

So the question was “What is eye pressure?” After reading this article you know eye pressure is the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. This fluid is behind the colored iris and is always being made and drained from the eyes. Many things can cause the pressure to go up in the eyes. The most common things would cause either too much fluid to be made or not enough fluid to be drained.

How do we target treatments? Well, when the eye pressure is high treatments could be an eye drop or a laser. Either way, high pressure causes the risk of glaucoma. If it’s a high enough risk or glaucoma is already occurring we begin treatments. By adding treatment, the goal is to bring the eye pressure down and to give the eye protection so it will not ever get any worse in the future. If you know anyone with glaucoma please send them to us at Insight Eyecare your Jenks eye doctor.

At Insight Eyecare we take pride in the technology we invest in to take care of our patients. Our eyecare tonometer makes checking the pressure of the eyes much more pleasurable. We have called this a “no air puff technology” because so many patients hate the air puff that they get at other eye doctors. Air puff machines are out of date and old technology. They do not get good consistent results compared to newer eyecare technology. We’ve also invested heavily in scanning technology which helps us find high pressures in the eye and if there is any damage. We encourage this technology to be screened on all of our full eye exams along with dilation.

Ocular health is of vital importance going forward in life and it allows you to not miss any of the beauty that life has to offer. We have amazing technology that can bring eye pressure down. Why would anybody not have a simple check with dilation once every year to make sure the eyes are healthy? Please consider us at Insight Eyecare to be your Jenks eye doctor. We have a truly amazing staff that cares for all of our patients. A beautiful building with an optical gallery with over 1000 frame options to choose from here in office and online. At Insight Eyecare our mission is to improve every person at every encounter. God bless you guys and have a great day!

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