If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, your eye doctor has probably explained that the key to successful glaucoma treatment is to keep your eye pressure at a normal level and monitor it regularly. That usually means frequent visits to their office for check-ups. Not only is this inconvenient, it doesn’t always provide an accurate picture of your eye pressure.
Eye pressure fluctuates constantly. Not just between doctor’s visits, but even throughout a single day. Since it wouldn’t be practical to increase the number of eye pressure tests at your doctor’s office, ophthalmology researchers began to work on how patients could safely conduct an eye pressure test at home. Just like other patient testing devices, such as blood pressure monitors, this provides more information about how your numbers change during everyday activities, providing a fuller picture than a snapshot every few months.
In today’s blog, we’ll talk about two at-home eye pressure options that have been well received from both the patient and doctor perspective. For patients, they offer convenience, ease of use, and a sense of empowerment. For doctors, they provide more data, which helps them make better decisions about treatment.
Icare® Home Tonometer
The Icare Home Tonometer, which gained FDA approval in March of 2017, doesn’t require a topical anesthetic and has no uncomfortable puff of air. Before you begin, your eye doctor provides a demonstration to make sure you’re comfortable and confident. He/she would then advise how often you’d need to take measurements.
To use the tonometer, red and green lights guide proper alignment of the device over the eye. When ready, you hit a button, and a small probe with a soft, disposable cover quickly touches your eye’s surface before retracting back into the tonometer. You can choose to take one reading at a time or a cluster of six in rapid succession. The Icare Home Tonometer then stores data, which your eye doctor can retrieve during your next office visit.
Triggerfish (Sensimed AG) Contact Lens
The Triggerfish (Sensimed AG) Contact Lens addresses at-home eye pressure monitoring differently. The contact lens is not measuring eye pressure directly. Instead, it measures changes to the curvature of the lens. This correlates with changes in eye pressure. It has a built-in sensor that automatically records continuous changes over the course of 24 hours.
The contact lens passively records data while the patient performs waking activities or sleeps. Because patients don’t have to stop their activities to take a reading while wearing the Triggerfish, the data it collects may reveal connections between eye pressure spikes and certain activities.
The application will require two appointments, each 15 to 30 minutes. One to apply the contact lens and one to remove it. Normal daily activities are encouraged, so the readings represent an average day. The most common side effect is a red eye and slightly blurry vision as the contact lens has no optical correction. You can use artificial tears if the eye feels dry or scratchy.
As you can see, both options offer different pieces of information that can help you and your doctor create a personalized (and effective) glaucoma treatment plan. If you want to explore doing an eye pressure test at home, talk to your eye doctor about whether it makes sense for you.