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Better Glaucoma Self Testing: New Technology Will Allow IOP Monitoring At Home

Posted on June 06, 2017 by Glaucoma Research Foundation

If you are a glaucoma patient, it is very important for you and your doctor to monitor your intraocular pressure (IOP). Understanding how your individual pressure changes over time can help you feel confident that your treatment is working effectively. As anyone who has glaucoma knows, regular IOP monitoring usually means frequent trips to the eye doctor, which can be inconvenient and expensive. To avoid this toll on time and money, and to put patients more in control of the eye pressure monitoring process, new technology is being developed to monitor IOP from home.

Why Monitoring IOP is Important

IOP fluctuates constantly, between doctor’s visits and even throughout the day. The more frequently your IOP is measured, the better overall picture your doctor will have of your pressure fluctuations. This is important information for measuring the effectiveness of your treatment plan. With a consistent home monitoring plan, you might even be able to tell your doctor what activities tend to trigger spikes in eye pressure. Thanks to new home-testing technologies that are currently in the late stages of the development process, this kind of consistent monitoring could be even more easily achieved.

For example, Columbia University Medical Center researchers have developed a “smart” contact lens that can detect changes in lens curvature associated with pressure changes inside the eye, so that you always know what your IOP is doing. This promising device is in clinical trials. Meanwhile, the Icare® HOME device, a European tonometer that has been pending approval for the last three years, has just received FDA approval for use by glaucoma patients in the United States.

“Home monitoring creates a robust set of eye pressure data that allows glaucoma patients and their doctors to make better decisions about medication and surgery than they otherwise would be able,” says one dedicated eye pressure expert. “By better understanding the factors, including stress, that affect eye pressure through the course of the day, patients are also empowered to make appropriate lifestyle choices.”1

Smart Contact Lenses Make Diagnoses Smarter

As eye pressure fluctuates, the curvature of the lens changes, which CUMC’s “smart” contact lenses measure. This signals a wireless device that records the changes and indirectly shows eye pressure changes over time, which corresponds with the progression of the disease. “This could be very useful if you want to know whether a new medication is working for a patient,” said one of the study’s authors. “You can see how their eye is reacting to the therapy in a much more meaningful way.”2

Powerful, Disposable Home Measurement Devices from Europe

The Icare® HOME tonometer device has been available for European glaucoma patients since 2014, and is now being introduced to patients in the United States. The device makes doctors aware of potentially dangerous spikes in IOP that they may never have known about otherwise, by using a disposable probe to measure eye pressure.3 The device can be used up to six times a day, with the probe moving to the cornea and back during each of the six rapid measurements, after which the tonometer calculates final eye pressure and stores it in the tonometer’s memory.4

The Future of Glaucoma Monitoring from Home

These are just two devices that will soon be available to patients, and they are leading the charge in innovation. Glaucoma patients who take advantage of these new technologies will no longer have to worry about whether or not their IOP is fluctuating between doctor’s visits, by taking consistent monitoring techniques into their own hands.

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1 Shields, David. "Leading Medical Specialists From Around the World Coalesce Around Home Monitoring For Glaucoma Patients." FitEyes. N.p., 7 Nov. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

2 "Smart Contact Lens Helps Predict Disease Progression in Glaucoma Patients." Newswise = Smart News Connection. N.p., 4 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

3 "FDA Cleared Icare® HOME, An Innovative Device Poised To Revolutionize IOP Self-Monitoring." Icare Usa. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

4 Icare Home Patient Guide. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

Last reviewed on September 26, 2017

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