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What’s Up With the Puff of Air?

by Drew Whitehead, O.D.

It’s a beautiful day, you walk into your optometrist’s office full of anticipation. You are finally going to have an answer as to why you notice so much glare driving at night, and why your eyes feel the slightest bit dry and itchy all day long. You fill out your paperwork, make your way back to a room full of machines that look like mini-spaceships from the future, and you sit down at one of them. Then it happens! A blast of air almost knocks you out of your seat. You think to yourself, “Now is that really necessary?”

The answer is yes and no. The dreaded “puff of air” test is formally called a non-contact tonometer and it measures the fluid pressure of the eyeball. The eye has an intraocular pressure (IOP) much like a basketball has an air pressure. The pressure can be low (think of a soft, under-deflated basketball), or it can be high (the basketball feels rock-hard). The normal range for IOP is between 10 and 21 mmHg. It is extremely important to measure because high IOP is a risk factor for glaucoma, which is a sight-threatening condition.

Measuring intraocular pressure is an essential part of a comprehensive eye exam, but it does not have to be so dreadful. At Vision Source in Kerrville, we have the newest technology and are able to measure the IOP with a less-intimidating handheld device, NO PUFF OF AIR and NO EYE DROPS necessary. You can get back to enjoying your eye exam.

Make an appointment to have your eyes checked HERE!