Air puff tonometry is a non-invasive method of measuring intraocular pressure (IOP). It’s not very accurate but is good for screening purposes. Those with glaucoma can be assesses with more reliable methods like applanation tonometry.
Tonopen is another reliable and effective device which can be used to measure eye pressure but air puff tonometer is more commonly used by ophthalmologists and optometrists all over the world because of convenience.
Here is a humorous way to look at the air puff tonometry by Chason Gordon:
Like most people, I was taken off guard the first time I took the test (so quick a test, I can’t believe it warrants a story … but it does). The technician had me lower my chin onto the base, and said to stare straight ahead without blinking. Seemed easy enough. But soon a burst of air traveling at Mach 2 shot into my cornea, and sent me hurtling backward against the wall, nothing but a heap of cowardly shivers and peed pants to show for it.
All the affectations of manhood that took years to build up quickly fell away, and were further defeated when she said, “you blinked,” no shit, “we’re going to have to do it again.”
Technically the air puff test is called noncontact tonometry (feels like contact to me!). The burst of air checks the pressure inside your eye by briefly flattening the cornea, and is used to measure for glaucoma and spinelessness (funny, since it makes many of us feel spineless). Since our eyes have a natural protective instinct, milksops like myself often blink and flinch.
Photo by US Embassy Guyana