Home Glaucoma Monitoring Helps Treat Young and Old

Icare Rebound Tonometer monitors pediatric glacoma patients as well as adults

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Parents may soon be able to aid doctors in monitoring their child's glaucoma, or even their own. An at-home test capable of measuring pressure within the eye could provide added information that helps improve their treatment.

Changes in intraocular pressure (IOP), or the pressure within the eye, throughout the day may suggest progression of the eye disease, which can lead to permanent vision damage. A device called the Icare rebound tonometer allows for home monitoring of these fluctuations.

"Talk to your ophthalmologist about how to best manage glaucoma."

Dr. Sharon F. Freedman, professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics, chief of Duke Eye Center pediatric division and lead researcher, noted that diabetics have long been able to monitor their condition at home through glucose monitors, but until recently there was no equivalent home device for measuring eye pressure.

She said the device helped provide information about expected variability of eye pressure in the eyes of healthy children. Dr. Freedman is hopeful that home tonometry could be used for selected children and adults with known glaucoma to aid them in managing the disease.

During the study the parents of 11 healthy children were shown how to use the simple Icare rebound tonometer, and observed taking readings to ensure they could reliably take eye pressure measurements. The parents then measured IOP six times a day for two consecutive days between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. None of the children complained about discomfort from using the device.

"We found that normal eyes of healthy children have a fluctuation in eye pressure of about five mm Hg throughout the day. The eye pressure tends to be higher in the morning and lower in the evening, and 'what the right eye does, so does the left eye,' in that the two normal eyes of a healthy child go up and down in unison," Dr. Freedman said of the findings in healthy children.

Journal of AAPOS Editor-in-Chief Dr. David G. Hunter, of the Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, noted that taking eye pressure had previously only been possible in the office.

"This study shows that it may be possible for people of all ages to measure eye pressure at home, which could provide important information about pressure changes on a daily basis that will advance the quality of care for glaucoma patients," he said.

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

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Review Date: 
March 7, 2012
Last Updated:
March 7, 2012