What is a: Puffer Test

Puffer Test

A puffer test is a specific form of glaucoma testing measuring eye pressure (intraocular pressure).

Most people who've had a comprehensive eye exam are familiar with the puffer test. A puffer test is what it sounds like: With your head resting in the chinrest of a diagnostic machine called a slit lamp, your eye doctor uses a puff of air across the surface of the eye to measure the intraocular pressure, "inside" pressure, of the eye.

High pressure is a key indicator of glaucoma, a series of eye diseases that attacks the optic nerve.

How does a puffer test work?

Puff tests are quick and largely without discomfort. You'll look at a light inside the machine while your eye doctor blows a gentle puff of air across the surface of your open eye. A device called a tonometer measures the eye's resistance to the air, and calculates your internal eye pressure.

This usually takes only a few moments, and while your eye might water slightly, the procedure is generally over before you know it!

A puffer test is a part of glaucoma testing, and is a routine part of a comprehensive eye exam. Glaucoma is a serious disease of the optic nerve, and often doesn't present itself until vision becomes impaired – that's why it's so important to have a puffer test to measure your intraocular pressure.

The information seen here is for reference purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose or prescribe any specific treatment(s). For all questions and concerns about your vision, eye health and potential eye problems, please consult an eyecare professional.

Special thanks to the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, for source material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the NEI/NIH website.

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