Why do they puff air into my eyes at the eye doctor?

Have you ever been puffed? During a routine eye test, the ophthalmologist will need to test your intraocular pressure, known as IOP. This is done with a tonometer. Measuring the fluid pressure in the eye is important in the evaluation of a patient for glaucoma. A non-contact tonometer is the best way for patients to have this"puff" test as it is quick and painless. This instrument measures the eye pressure with an air-puff test. The air that bounces back from the eye ball gives the machine a reading to tell what the eye pressure is. The alternative, more traditional tests produce the same results but are more time-consuming. Some doctor uses another machine called the Goldmann tonometer to measure the eye pressure.

First the doctor will apply a drop of anesthetic into your eye to numb it. He will then add a drop of fluroscein which is a yellow dye. You will be asked to place your chin on a support in front of the tonometer which will hold your head steady. The doctor looks through the side with binocular type equipment.

The tonometer is moved close to the eyeball until a probe touches the cornea. It then measures the inner pressure of the eye. Raised intraocular pressure can be the first sign of glaucoma. If your eye pressure is higher than it should be, you may be at risk of developing glaucoma.

Testing for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions which result in damage to the optic nerve. Intraocular pressure inside the eye is often the cause of this damage with a resulting reduction in peripheral vision.

Why do they puff air into my eyes at the eye doctor?

Glaucoma damages sight so gradually that it is often only detected when it is in an advanced stage, or by testing for visual field loss. It is estimated that 65 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. Early diagnosis is crucial to minimize or prevent damage to the optic nerve. Doctors understand that damage to the optic nerve is caused by intraocular pressure, but they do not yet fully understand why that pressure is associated with this damage, a main characteristic of glaucoma. Research is still underway to find out how to prevent or stop this deterioration in the retinal ganglion cells. The pressure comes from the fluid, called aqueous humor, which is normally produced in the front of your eye. Aqueous humor normally drains away through a small drainage system between the iris and the cornea. When this drainage fails to function properly, the aqueous humor builds up and pressure builds within the eye. The simple air puff test is the best and easiest way to detect this problem and begin preventative measures to prevent glaucoma.

Related Questions:

Have you ever been puffed? How much did it surprise you? Add a comment below.



The puff in my eyes freaks me

The puff in my eyes freaks me out! I got it done for my glaucoma test. I jumped 20 feet. ahahah

i hate this test

yes it did for me its a day later an i still have a headache and eye pain.

i hate this test

yes it did for me its a day later an i still have a headache and eye pain.

The Goldmann tonometer

The Goldmann tonometer remains the gold standard in diagnosis of Glaucoma.

The puff does not hurt but it

The puff does not hurt but it will take you by surprise as you don't know when it's coming. Has anyone had the Goldmann tonometer test for Glaucoma? It is more accurate than the puff test?

I've never had the Goldmann

I've never had the Goldmann tonometer test, just the puff test. How is it more accurate than the puff test? You are right the puff does not hurt at all, it simply surprises you. I've had it done a few times and my results have been negative for Glaucoma. I am curious as to what my results would be with the Goldmann tonometer. How does a puff of air into the eye indicate whether you have glaucoma or not anyway?

Goldmann-NO WAY!!!

I can't stand anything touching my eyes. I would rather have a root canal! Air puff every time please...

Eye test

I always have the Goldmann tonometer test because I can't handle the eye puff. I reflexively jump away and blink and yelp and generally make a fool of myself, no matter how many times they try. The Goldmann tonometer is a million times better for me. You can't even tell it touches your eye, it just looks like a blue light that's close to your eye.

For those of you wondering about the accuracy difference between the puffer and the tonometer, I'm not sure. However, my dad has glaucoma and when his reading on the puff test first came up as borderline high, the eye doctor tested him with the Goldmann tonometer and got a high reading, so he was sent to a specialist for official diagnosis and treatment. So I guess that's how it works, if your reading is high or borderline on the puff test, they will probably see what the more accurate instrument says.


My mom got this test done two weeks ago and she is still having problems with her eyes because of it however the eye place doesnt seem to believe us. :\

eye puff

I went to the optician to get new glasses and she eye puffed me. Got my new glasses, but after a few weeks I got collapse in my retina. I still wonder if the eye puff did that to me. I am born with only one eye working, so it worrys me alot, that I the rest of my life will have ghosts flying in front of my only working eye. My vision is not good anymore and I am an artist. How fun is that?

Aah this test ...

I never liked the test. I hate the anticipation and then the startle. You're not alone in this, those of you who dread this test.

Never do this test.

Last time they made me do it, I was too fast and closed my eyes. I was forced to do it EIGHTEEN times. EIGHTEEN times of pressurized air being blown into my eyes. Never again.

Puff air

I had my eyes checked yesterday and they puff my eyes now my eye is black, what caused my eyes to turn black, and they hurt