(RxWiki News) University of Arizona engineers have developed a self-administered test that may revolutionize glaucoma treatment.
The engineers developed a hand-held instrument involving micro-force sensors, microchips and math-based programmed procedures that individuals rub against their closed eyelid to help gauge intraocular pressure, a marker of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the United States.
Eniko Enikov, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and head of the Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory at the University of Arizona's College of Engineering said the device detects the stiffness of the closed eye and, therefore, the intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma results from increased intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye caused by a build-up of fluid), which, in turn, damages the optic nerve and results in vision loss unless treated.
The new device is also capable of detecting drainage of intraocular fluid by using the probe just before and after administering eye-drop medication to see how much pressure decreases as a result of the drops.
"The ability to accurately measure intraocular pressure with a self-administered test would represent a major advance in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma," said Dr. Christopher Quinn, O.D., F.A.A.O., President of OMNI Eye Services.
Enikov described the instrument as noninvasive, easy to use and applicable to a variety of situations that are either difficult to address or impossible to test using current methods.
Approximately four million Americans have glaucoma, but it's estimated only half of them know it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.