Pediatric Intraocular Pressure Measurements: Tonometers, Central Corneal Thickness, and Anesthesia

Date Published:

2019 May 24


Measuring intraocular pressure (IOP) is the cornerstone of a comprehensive glaucoma exam. In babies or small children, however, IOP measurements are problematic, cannot often be done at the slit lamp, and are sometimes require general anesthesia. Therefore, it is essential for an ophthalmologist who examines a pediatric patient to be aware of the different tonometers used in children, as well as the effects of central corneal thickness (CCT) and anesthesia on IOP measurements. Goldmann applanation tonometry is the gold standard for IOP assessment. Most alternative tonometers tend to give higher IOP readings compared to the Goldmann applanation tonometer, and readings between different tonometers are often not interchangeable. Like Goldmann tonometry, many of these alternative tonometers are affected by CCT, with thicker corneas having artifactually high IOP readings and thinner corneas having artifactually lower IOP readings. Although various machines can be used to compensate for corneal factors (e.g. the dynamic contour tonometer and ocular response analyzer), it is important to be aware that certain ocular diseases can be associated with abnormal CCT values and that their IOP readings need to be interpreted accordingly. Because induction and anesthetics can affect IOP, office IOPs taken in awake patients are always the most accurate.

See also: Cornea, May 2019, All, 2019
Last updated on 06/04/2019