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Glaucoma – Why Monitoring IOP is Important

Article reviewed by L. Jay Katz, MD. Dr. Katz is Director of the Glaucoma Service at the Wills Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He received his BA from Case Western Reserve University, his MD from Yale University School of Medicine, his ophthalmology residency training at Yale, and his glaucoma subspecialty training at Wills Eye Hospital.

“Information on this page is adapted from www.glaucoma.org — the website of the Glaucoma Research Foundation in San Francisco, California — and is copyrighted by the Glaucoma Research Foundation.”

IOP fluctuates constantly, between doctor’s visits and even throughout the day. The more frequently your IOP is measured, the better overall picture your doctor will have of your eye pressure fluctuations. This may be helpful information for measuring the effectiveness of your treatment regimen. Currently, the most common approach to getting this information is to measure your eye pressures in the clinic at different times of day over several visits. With recent advances in this field, eye pressure measurement is now feasible outside the clinic setting.

“Smart” Contact Lenses

As eye pressure fluctuates, the curvature of the front part of the eye changes, which the “smart” contact lenses can measure. This signals a wireless device that records the changes and indirectly shows eye pressure changes over time, which may correspond with the progression of glaucoma. The Sensimed Triggerfish® Sensor “smart” contact lens has recently been approved in the United States by the FDA for monitoring eye pressure.

Home Tonometer Devices

The Icare® HOME tonometer device has been available to European glaucoma patients since 2014, and is now available to patients in the United States. It uses a disposable probe to measure eye pressure, and can be used up to six times a day. The home tonometer takes six rapid IOP measurements, then calculates eye pressure, and stores it in the device’s memory. However, at this time, it’s not yet clear how well patients can use the device, or what use clinicians can make of the data it provides. Our current diagnostic techniques provide adequate information for most patients. Further study will help determine the role of this new diagnostic tool.

 The Future of Glaucoma Monitoring from Home

These ‘smart’ contact lens sensors and home monitoring devices are leading the advances in innovation. Tiny eye implants have also been developed by researchers that will enable patients to take daily or hourly measurements of their eye pressure, which would help their doctors to tailor more effective treatment plans. Further study will help determine when it is appropriate to use these new technologies.

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