Eye Pressure Test Explained

Victor LopesEye Health

pressure test
eye pressure
by Dr. Nadine Shelton

Eye pressure 

Intraocular Pressure Test,  also known as an eye pressure test, is used to test the pressure of the liquid of the eye. Eye pressure is not related to blood pressure and no treatment for high blood pressure will affect your eye pressure. Prolonged high eye pressure could require specific treatments discussed later. Most adults are probably familiar with doing an “eye pressure” test during one of their eye exams. Optometrists will perform an eye pressure test during your eye exam, if required.

Eye anatomy

Aqueous humour is the liquid in the eye and is of a gel consistency. Gel is continuously produced and drained, to keep the eye inflated. Stable eye pressure is achieved by the consistent balance of this fluid movement. Slight changes are normal depending on the time of day or activity. High eye pressure over time will have negative affects in your vision.

eye anatomy

Optic nerve damage with increased pressure on the back of the eye

Causes of high eye pressure

Normal eye pressure is between 10-20 mmHg. High eye pressure is considered to be 24mmHg or above. Glaucoma is an eye disease diagnosed from elevated eye pressure over a long period of time, damaging the optic nerve, decreasing side vision. Diagnosis is usually given after age 65, however if there is a hereditary history then diagnosis could as early as age 40. Higher eye pressure may also be caused by inflammation, caused by eye trauma or a recent operation. Long term steroid use or other medications may also cause an increase in eye pressure.

Symptoms of elevated eye pressure

Elevated eye pressure is not something that a person can feel or see. Regular eye exams are important. Tell your optometrist, if there is a history of glaucoma in the family. Loss of your side vision may be noticed, in situations where the eye pressure has been high and undetected for a long time. Early diagnosis is the key to decreasing the damage caused by glaucoma over time. Make regular follow ups, as glaucoma treatments are able to slow vision damage. Concerns can always be addressed with your optometrist. Being proactive about your vision will help to ensure healthy eyes in the years to come.

Different methods used to measure

Intra-ocular pressure can be measured a few different ways using a similar model. Eye pressure is measured using the cornea, the surface in front of the coloured part of the eye. The non-contact tonometry machine, also known as the air puff test, is the most common eye pressure testing device. A small puff of air flattens the front corneal curve and measures the pressure of your eye. Applanation tonometry or Goldmann tonometry is the second most common device. Yellow eye drops are used to numb the surface of the eye and a small lens probe is used to push on the cornea, to measure the eye pressure. Eye pressure readings takes only a few seconds and are painless.

tonometer for eye pressure

Applanation tonometry test

Treatments for high eye pressure

Elevated eye pressure readings can lead to further testing and possibly a diagnosis of glaucoma. Daily use of prescription eye drops or a laser treatment may be used to reduce your eye pressure. Eye drops target the production or the drainage of the aqueous to restore the balance of pressure. Glaucoma drops will be used continuously unless an alternative treatment is recommended. Laser treatments can open the drainage of the eye and are usually only done once or twice due to the risk of scarring. Untreated high eye pressure can slowly kill off retinal nerve cells, which causes a gradual loss of side vision.

eye drops for eye pressure

Patient putting in eye drops


Eye Care at nv During COVID-19

Here at nv eye care & eye wear we are open for all your routine and emergent eye care. We limit the people in our office during COVID. Call ahead or email, to ensure we are not busy helping someone else. Please have a seat outside on our patio until we are done helping our present patient, if you arrive at our office and the door is closed. We take the time to properly disinfect all surfaces that were touched by a previous patient before welcoming you in.

Please call the Misericordia Urgent Eye Care Clinic at 204-774-6581, if you have eye issues and are feeling sick, have traveled outside the province or country in the last 14 days, have been with a person who has or for afterhours eye care. You must call us to reschedule any appointments you have made with us, if you are feeling sick.


nv store front image

nv is open for regular eye care at 698 Corydon Ave in Winnipeg, Canada

Eye Care Advice

We are here for your eye care needs during these difficult times. Do not hesitate to call or email us at nv eye care & eye wear, if you have any questions. For more answers to your vision health questions, please contact me, Dr. Nadine Shelton at nv eye care eye wear, 204-504-6863 or http://nvmyeyes.com/our-team/.

Nadine Shelton

Dr. Nadine Shelton, optometrist and owner of nv

The Owner

Dr. Nadine Shelton B.Sc, O.D. studied at University of Winnipeg, Canada and Indiana University, USA. She has worked abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico assisting outreach patient eye care with VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity). Her university days focused on early child eye care and low vision. Dr. Shelton has been practicing optometry for thirteen years in Winnipeg and has celebrated three years in her own practice with her partner Victor Lopes in the heart of the Corydon Village called nv. nv is a full service optical where eye exams are available and a great selection of unique to the city eye wear can be found.  Learn more at nvmyeyes.com, call us at (204) 504-6863 or come see us at 100-698 Corydon Ave in Winnipeg, Canada.