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The Eye Air Puff Test - Why You Can't Hide From It

By Essilor News

The air puff test: It's the part of a comprehensive eye exam that everyone hates. Your eye doctor blows air straight into your eyes, and keeping your lids up feels like a challenge worthy of "Survivor"- but, while unpleasant, it can actually tell you tons of information on how to better protect your peepers and can reveal signs of glaucoma, an eye disease affected by increased eye pressure and the second leading cause of blindness.


The puff test is a non-contact tonometry test that puffs a small burst of air into your eye. The air bounces back to the tonometer and gives the machine a reading of your eye's intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye. Although you think the machine will touch your eye, it won't!


If your eye pressure becomes too high, the delicate nerve fibers in the back of your eye can be damaged, resulting in vision loss. There are usually little to no symptoms or pain associated with high eye pressure, which is why the puff test can save your vision.


Although slightly uncomfortable, the puff test is the easiest and most non-invasive way for your eye doctor to check for high IOP. In fact, other tonometry tests require a probe, a rounded tip tool or a plunger to gently push and flatten your cornea to measure the pressure. Don't worry - you are given eye numbing drops as to not feel anything throughout the test. Now that little puff of air doesn't sound so threatening, does it?