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If you’ve ever gotten a comprehensive eye exam, you may be familiar with the eye air puff test. Why do doctors do this? What are they testing for? It seems like an odd concept, but eye doctors have strong reasons behind what they do to ensure your eye health is and stays in tip-top shape. Here’s how and why eye doctors often perform the eye air puff test (technically known as NCT, non-contact tonometry).
How does the eye air puff test work?
The eye air puff test is truly what it sounds like: a machine called a tonometer will blow a light puff of air into your eye, while you look into a light.
Though quick and painless, the test reveals vital information on the actual pressure your eyes can withstand. This is called your intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal pressure ranges from 12-22 mm Hg. Any eye doctor will be on high alert if your eye pressure so happens to fall out of this range.
Why do optometrists use the eye air puff test?
The overall purpose of the eye air puff test is to see if a patient is at risk for glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease where your optic nerve is progressively damaged to the point where vision is completely lost. This disease is the second leading cause of blindness, and unfortunately, vision loss caused by glaucoma can’t be repaired.
If signs of glaucoma are recognized early, vision loss can often be prevented or at least slowed down. This is why it’s important to receive an eye air puff test (non-contact tonometry test) during your annual eye exam.
Our eyes are some of the most sensitive, prized organs. Taking care of your eyes is important at every age, and frequent check-ups are a must. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your local eye doctor.
EPF Eye Care—formerly Evans, Piggott, & Finney—is a private optometry practice with locations in Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Attica, Indiana. With ten eye doctors and five locations, EPF offers convenient and specialty eye care for the entire family.
Call EPF Eye Care to schedule an appointment, and follow the practice on Facebook.