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Surely its perfectly normal for eye pressure to go up and down

Submitted by dave on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 9:54am

surely its perfectly normal for eye pressure to go up under certain circumstances. Just like our bp goes up and down. anne


stress and intraocular pressureWe now know that intraocular pressure does respond to events in our lives, to our state of mind and emotions and to stress. However, before FitEyes came along in 2006 (and for several years afterwards) these facts were not recognized.

See this FitEyes article from Feb 2007:

The standard medical opinion is that stress does not affect eye pressure (intraocular pressure). For example, see "Glaucoma - Frequently Asked Questions" at The Eye Institute states:

"As far as we know, stress does not affect eye pressure or the health of the optic nerve."

Another example of the prevailing medical opinion can be found in a Wills Glaucoma chat transcript on Stress and Glaucoma from July 20, 2005:

Patient:  Does being nervous or stressed increase the IOP (intraocular pressure) as it does blood pressure?

Dr. Elliot Werner:  Not as far as we know.

Even today many ophthalmologists will deny that stress affects intraocular pressure. They will further deny that non-stressful events such as Bailey described could affect eye pressure.

Those of us doing self-tonometry are pioneers. We are discovering new knowledge. Much of what we are discovering is self-knowledge. We are learning how to manage our lives in a healthier way. And some of what we have discovered is general knowledge that benefits the entire ophthalmology field.

The nature of glaucoma is that the normal regulatory (homeostasis) mechanisms do not function correctly. Medical science doesn't know why. Not everyone will see the magnitude of IOP change Bailey described, for example. These larger IOP changes are a characteristic of those with glaucoma or at risk for glaucoma. 

For those of us who do respond with these volatile IOP changes, our opportunity, via self-tonometry, is to discover how to restore our natural homeostasis. In doing so, we learn to restore balance and health to our entire being. It can be a richly rewarding journey.


[here's part two of my comment.] I think constantly measuring it would lead to over concern because one would assume bad things unnecessarily. anne

It's the opposite actually. This topic is discussed frequently on See The Comfort I Get From Monitoring My Eye Pressure.

Those of us doing self-tonometry are moving from ignorance to mastery. Confronting reality, including the truth about our IOP (which may not have been revealed by IOP exams in the doctor's office) is not always easy for the first few weeks. However, as we move toward mastery, we become empowered. We find a great comfort in knowing the facts. And we find even more comfort in discovering that we have the ability to influence our own health in a positive way -- and this includes the ability to better manage our own IOP.

At this time in history, most ophthalmologists will not be able to have an informed conversation with a patient concerning what the patient can do to improve the management of their IOP. From my perspective, this is nearly malpractice because IOP is the only treatable risk factor for glaucoma! Imagine not being able to teach a diabetic how to manage their blood sugar through diet and lifestyle improvement! People with diabetes would die much earlier and they would suffer much more than they do today when they monitor their blood sugar at home. (See

Those of us doing self-tonometry want to improvement the management of our IOP beyond the standard level of care that had been offered before home eye pressure monitoring became practical. We want to do more to maintain (or even improve) our vision. Maybe we want to reduce our eye drops or maybe we want to find additional ways to reduce our IOP, or maybe we want to make the best decision about treatment options our doctor has recommended. Or, as in my case, maybe we just want to discover the truth.

At this point in time, home eye pressure monitoring is for pioneers. Virtually the only support system in the world is When home eye pressure monitoring becomes mainstream, as home blood glucose monitoring has become for diabetes care, then almost every glaucoma patient will routinely be doing home monitoring. As it stands now, only those of us who want a better standard of care now, not next decade, are doing self-tonometry. ;)

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