If you've been to an eye doctor, odds are you've had the test where the little puff of air is aimed at your eye. This painless, no-contact test gauges your intraocular pressure (inner eye pressure) which helps screen for glaucoma.
Your eyes contain fluid called aqueous humour. An increase in this fluid can elevate intraocular pressure. High IOP is a risk factor for glaucoma, a condition which can lead to vision loss.
Normal IOP ranges from 12 to 22 mm Hg (millimetres of mercury). Ocular pressure higher than normal is called intraocular hypertension.
A June 2002 study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology determined that eye drops used to help lower IOP can delay the onset of related conditions such as glaucoma.
You should visit your eye doctor for a thorough exam every one to two years. Your doctor may recommend more frequent IOP screenings if you have other glaucoma risk factors such as family history.
High IOP is only one of the risk factors for glaucoma. It's possible to have a normal IOP and still have the condition.