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March 1963

An Explanation for So-Called Consensual Pressure Drop During Tonography

Author Affiliations

From the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, and Glaucoma Consultation Service.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;69(3):314-316. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960040320010

It has been a practically universal experience among those doing tonography that while the tonometer is resting on the first eye for 4 or more minutes the pressure in the other eye commonly decreases a small but significant amount. Most observers have been inclined to consider this to be a consensual response induced by application of the tonometer. Numerous investigators have examined possible psychic, neural, vascular, muscular, and hormonal mechanisms through which the presumed consensual effect might be mediated, but so far the actual mechanism appears not to have been discovered. The relevant literature has been particularly well reviewed by Perkins in the 1958 Macy Foundation Conference on Glaucoma.1

We wish to offer a relatively simple explanation for the fall in pressure in one eye during tonography on the other, and to present evidence that this is principally an effect of loss of water by evaporation from the eye

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