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May 1990

Assessment of Intraocular Pressure in Vitrectomized Gas-Containing Eyes: A Clinical and Manometric Comparison of the Tono-Pen to the Pneumotonometer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(5):684-688. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070070070037

• Elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) in gas-containing eyes occurs not infrequently, and applanation tonometry in eyes with epithelial irregularities is not accurate. The pneumotonometer and Tono-Pen (Oculab, La Jolla, Calif) are alternative tonometers for use in these eyes, yet the accuracy of determining IOP with the Tono-Pen has not been determined manometrically. We performed a clinical and manometric study comparing the Tono-Pen with the pneumotonometer in gas-filled vitrectomized eyes. In our clinical study, we measured IOP in 50 eyes of 50 patients with corneal irregularities following vitrectomy and air/gas-fluid exchange. Tono-Pen measurements were highly correlated with those of the pneumotonometer. However, there was a mean difference of 1.4 mm Hg between Tono-Pen and pneumotonometer IOP readings. A larger percentage of Tono-Pen readings were lower than those of the pneumotonometer as IOP levels increased. To assess the accuracy of these tonometers, we compared manometric readings via an indwelling catheter with Tono-Pen and pneumotonometer IOP readings in 11 eye bank eyes following a lensectomy, vitrectomy, and air-fluid exchange. Overall, Tono-Pen and pneumotonometer readings were highly correlated with those of the manometer. However, both machines showed a significant underestimation of IOP at pressures greater than or equal to 30 mm Hg; pneumotonometer and Tono-Pen readings averaged 10.2 and 12.1 mm Hg lower, respectively, than those of the manometer. We conclude that both the pneumotonometer and the Tono-Pen underestimate IOP at pressures greater than or equal to 30 mm Hg. Use of the equations derived to calculate the true IOP from the tonometer reading will help guide intervention for avoiding damage due to elevated IOP in these gas-containing eyes.

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