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Intraocular pressure (IOP) in the developing eye of a child is not always easy to measure and there is no technique that is known to be the most accurate for the young eye. Measurements are needed on many cohorts of children with different tonometers to determine how the values correlate between instruments, whether corneal parameters affect readings and whether correlations between age and IOP values can be discerned. The aim of this study was to undertake a comparative analysis of three different tonometers on a group of healthy children to see whether differences exist and whether these may be related to central corneal thickness and/or radius of curvature. In addition, the study adds to the relatively small body of literature on IOP in the growing eye which will collectively allow trends to be identified and ultimately norms to be established.
IOP was measured on 115 eyes in a group of Polish children, aged between 5–17 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD] 11.3 ± 3.0 years) using three different tonometers: non-contact (NCT), the ICare and Goldmann applanation (GAT). Readings obtained were compared between instruments and with central corneal thickness and radius of curvature.
The ICare tonometer provided statistically higher IOP values (16.9 ± 3.4 mmHg) than the GAT (14.7 ± 2.9 mmHg) regardless of corneal thickness and whether or not a correction factor was applied. A correlation was found between central corneal thickness (CCT) and IOP values obtained with all three tonometers but only the IOP values detected with the ICare tonometer showed a statistically significant correlation with radius of curvature (p < 0.004). No correlations with age or gender were found for IOP values measured with any of the instruments.
IOP measurements on children vary significantly between instruments and correlations are affected by the corneal thickness. Further studies on children are needed to determine which instrument is most appropriate and to derive a normative IOP scale for the growing eye.