Author - Frank Zhang (Optometrist)
Have you ever been puffed in the air when going to the optometrist? Have you ever wondered about the reason for doing the eye pressure test? No it is not to clean your eyeballs or test your reflexes or make you jump for no reason!
This is actually to measure your intraocular pressure which is like blood pressure but is the pressure behind the eyes. In other words, these are basically eye pressure levels that need to be measured. A high eye pressure, unlike a normal eye pressure, could indicate a problem such as glaucoma which is the one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide where there is currently no cure.
It does this by using a rapid air pulse to applanate or flatten the cornea which is the front surface of the eyeball. Corneal applanation is detected via an electro-optical system. Intraocular pressure is estimated by detecting the force of the air jet at the instance of applanation.
So what is Glaucoma, you wonder? Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. In most people this damage is due to an increased pressure inside the eye. It could be the result of the blockage of the circulation of aqueous (eye fluid), or its drainage. In other patients the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to the vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve, and/or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves.
Over 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. While it is more common as people age, it can occur at any age. As our population becomes older, the proportion of glaucoma patients is increasing.
Glaucoma is also referred to as the silent thief of vision as there are no clear symptoms and is a slowly progressive disease which causes loss of peripheral vision. People at higher risk are people with high myopia or short-sightedness, diabetics, high blood pressure and those who have done eye surgery.
This is the reason why you kept getting puffs of air at your local optometrist during your eye test.
By Frank Zhang.
Optometrist at 1001 Optical.
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