A new glaucoma test?

I went to the eye doctor today (first time in 3 years, bad boy!) and when the time came for a glaucoma test, I was trying my best not to anticipate the poof of air shot into my eyeball. Well, I didn’t have to. There was none.

The nurse put some solution in my eyes to numb them and touched my eye with some sort of probe. I asked why they didn’t use the poof test and she said people tend to anticipate the poof by holding their breath. This, she says, can give improper readings.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I’ve always hated the poof test.

When did this test come along?

I believe it predates the “poof” test.

Dug around a little and found this site and the test I had was this:

I had a probe-type test when I got my first pair of glasses in the early 60s, so it’s not new. (And the eyedrops made you unable to focus your eyes for hours.)

Yes, it does; the ‘poof’ test was designed to be convenient, quick and less uncomfortable than the probe, but the downside is that it isn’t as reliable.

Odd, since with the probe, I felt nothing. The poof test was unpleasant and, in one case, the assistant had to do it five times. My eyes were gushing water after that.

Maybe they’ve improved that too; I had a probe test (I’m not sure if that’s any more the proper name for it than ‘the ‘poof’ test’ is the proper name for the other one) a number of years back; they dropped anaesthetic into my eyes, made me wait five minutes, then clamped my head in a cradle and probed my open eyes with a machine (the actual bit that did the probing was a rounded glass rod, illuminated with blue light). It was quite unpleasant.

The poof test is sometimes called the “air puff tonometer”.

The latest in tonometry is the Tonopen[sup]TM[/sup].

It’s a little difficult to use but it can be done quickly and without having to use the slit lamp (for those who may not have a slit lamp) and it can be done without taking contact lenses out.

I’ve had both, and I prefer the probe, even with the extra hassle of the drops. I always jump at the “poof” and I’m convinced it doesn’t read me right, even though I’ve never had a problem with the probe test. I do have some family history of glaucoma, so I want to keep on top of it.