An eye pressure check, also known as tonometry, is a common procedure performed by optometrists to determine the level of pressure within your eyes. This is an important test, as high eye pressure can indicate a condition called glaucoma, which, if left untreated, can lead to vision loss. In this article, we will explore what exactly is involved in an eye pressure check and what you can expect during the process.

The Importance of Eye Pressure Checks

Before delving into the specifics of an eye pressure check, it’s essential to understand why this examination is crucial. The pressure in your eyes, technically known as intraocular pressure (IOP), plays a vital role in maintaining the health and function of your eyes.

When the IOP is too high, it can potentially damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from your eyes to your brain. This damage can lead to glaucoma, a progressive eye condition that can gradually result in vision loss.

By regularly monitoring your eye pressure, optometrists can identify any abnormalities and detect if you are at risk of developing glaucoma. Early detection means early intervention, allowing for appropriate treatment to prevent or minimize vision loss.

Preparation for an Eye Pressure Check

Preparing for an eye pressure check is relatively straightforward, and there are no special requirements beforehand. It is recommended, however, to inform your optometrist if you wear contact lenses, as you may be required to remove them before the examination.

The Process of an Eye Pressure Check

The actual eye pressure check is a quick and painless procedure. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Numbing Eye Drops

Prior to the test, your optometrist will often administer numbing eye drops to ensure your comfort throughout the examination.

2. Using a Tonometer

To measure your eye pressure accurately, your optometrist will use a device called a tonometer. There are two common types of tonometers: the applanation tonometer and the non-contact tonometer (NCT).

– The applanation tonometer involves gently touching your eye with a special instrument while you are comfortably seated. You will be instructed to focus on a specific point, and the optometrist will obtain the eye pressure readings.

– The NCT, on the other hand, measures eye pressure by sending a puff of air onto the surface of your eye. The optometrist will simply ask you to keep your eyes open and look straight ahead while the measurements are taken.

3. Recording the Results

After the eye pressure check, your optometrist will record the readings obtained from the tonometer. These measurements will be used as reference points for future examinations to track any changes in your eye pressure over time.

What to Expect Afterwards

Following the eye pressure check, you can typically resume your normal activities right away. The numbing effect of the eye drops will wear off within a few hours, and you may experience some mild discomfort or light sensitivity, which should subside quickly.

It’s important to note that the eye pressure check is just one aspect of a comprehensive eye examination. Your optometrist may perform further tests to evaluate your overall eye health and check for any other potential issues. They will discuss your results with you and, if necessary, recommend any appropriate measures or treatments.


An eye pressure check is a simple yet vital part of maintaining good eye health. By regularly monitoring your eye pressure, you can help prevent or manage conditions such as glaucoma, ultimately protecting your vision. By understanding what is involved in an eye pressure check, you can approach this examination with confidence and take proactive steps towards preserving your eye health.