Yes, eye pressure changes all the time!
Eye pressure changes every day. It changes every hour and it can even change every minute. It can even change as fast as your thoughts change. I'll demonstrate this before the end of this article. Keep reading.
Here are a few widely accepted facts. It is well-known that there is an ocular pulse stemming from the heart beat. Your eye pressure is pulsating about 2 to 4 mmHg with every heart beat. It is also generally understood that eye pressure changes with time of day and with postural changes. What is not generally understood is that stress affects eye pressure. Furthermore, I can attest that many common daily activities affect my eye pressure. When I live more intelligently, my eye pressure is better-managed. Simple things all of us do (or don't do) can have as large an affect on our eye pressure as anything our doctors can do to us. There are three possible reactions to hearing this information:
- denial, disbelief or dismissal: various "experts" may dispute my statements, but our self-tonometry group has good data supporting my statements. (I originally wrote this on 29-May-2010. Since then recognition of these facts among professionals has improved, but it is by no means universal yet.) Why is there such a disconnect? One reason, for example, is that a typical ophthalmologist may measure eye pressure a few tens of thousands of times over an entire career. Published studies may collect a few hundred or a few thousand eye pressure measurements. And almost all of those measurements are obtained within a limited set of conditions. The FitEyes self-tonometry community has already collected over a million eye pressure measurements with the best tonometers in the world under more widely varying situations than any other research has ever examined. And we know that eye pressure varies with our activities, our stress, and even our breathing.
- overwhelmed, anxious or confused: some patients (not all) may feel overwhelmed upon learning that many simple things they do can affect their eye pressure. There is also a big shift in responsibility. If one is used to the doctor being totally responsible for one's health, accepting even a little responsibility can be a big change. Learning that things we patients do can potentially have as large an influence as anything the doctor can do can be enlightening. Recognizing that there are things we do that the doctor has no control over is a revelation. Many patients, upon learning this, feeling elated, exonerated and empowered. Some patients have to go through an education and adjustment period before being able to tap into this new sense of personal power. In fact, it is normal for everyone to have to adjust to new information.
- empowerment, curiosity and a resolve to benefit one's health by using this new knowledge: many patients want to do more for their vision. They want to supplement their vision care with the latest, most advanced knowledge and techniques. That's what the FitEyes Eye Pressure Research Community is all about. With home eye pressure monitoring (self-tonometry), what previously seemed like stable IOP is revealed to be dynamic. And what may at first seem like random fluctuations in IOP soon (with sufficient monitoring) becomes revealed as patterns as intimate to oneself as one's thoughts and one's habits. And before long one finds that one can predict one's own IOP trends. That's the beginning of a new level of empowerment. When you understand that your eye pressure is changing and you begin to understand what makes it change, the world of possibilities opens up in ways that someone who hasn't experienced self-tonometry cannot imagine.
I am speaking on the basis sharing self-tonometry experiences with other glaucoma patients around the world since 2006. I have seen the profound degree to which we all have the ability to influence our own eye pressure. Please allow me to demonstrate with an IOP exam conducted just moments before writing this. I will not reveal who the IOP data belongs to. (All information of this type is always confidential unless the individual chooses to reveal it themselves.) This exam was conducted using the Reichert 7CR:
|Time taken||Right eye|
| ||IOPcc||IOPg||Exam Score|
|05/29/10 10:23 AM ||16||12.1||9.1|
|05/29/10 10:24 AM ||11.3||8.4||9.7|
This data demonstrates a 30% reduction in intraocular pressure in under one minute! The person's IOP went from 16 mmHg to 11 mmHg in less than 60 seconds! And it changed according with the person's intention. This was a conscious demonstration showing that the person could reduce their own intraocular pressure.
Discussion of the two IOP values (IOPcc and IOPg) reported in the table above is an advanced topic that is beyond the scope of this article. These two IOP values are measured simultaneously. They pertain to Goldmann-correlated IOP (IOPg) and corneal compensated IOP (IOPcc). Feel free to ignore one column. You can read either column and see that this person's IOP decined by 30% in less than 60 seconds. These two types of IOP (IOPcc and IOPg) are just two different ways to measure IOP for one eye. This data is obtained with a very accurate tonometer that reports IOP in two ways instead of just one. This is better data. But all that is relevant to this article is that no matter which measure you use, this person's IOP decreased 30% in 60 seconds by conscious intention.
Can any glaucoma medication do this? Unlikely. They typically take much longer to work and often reduce IOP by less than 30%. But many people can already do this with the techniques discussed throughout FitEyes.com. (Those techniques are not herbs, vitamins, acupuncture, or anything else some "expert" does to you. This is what we glaucoma patients can do for ourselves with simple but profound mental techniques and the training/biofeedback we acquire through using a tonometer.)
Note the exam quality scores above. A score of 7 or above is acceptable and valid. These reported measurements are absolutely valid. Furthermore, I have seen many people repeat demonstrations like this over a number of years. I tend to be a little quiet about what people can achieve (partly because this isn't a circus show, this is a serious thing). Yes, I have knowledge about how to do this and yes, I teach people what I know. (Caveat: I am not a doctor. I am a glaucoma patient. I do not give medical advice. I only teach skills related to healthy living and stress management.)
Anyone can learn do this with a home tonometer and sufficient practice to develop the skills. I am sharing the results above because I'm feeling a little frustrated that many so-called experts and several reputable companies continue to promote products or services with the claim that they reduce intraocular pressure, when in fact they are ineffective. People do want additional solutions for managing their eye pressure. But a powerful solution is closer than any of that. For me, the best solution is not in the expert who has the new product or service. The solution is right inside you. It is as simple as how you live and the mental habits you cultivate. The impact of these simple things on our intraocular pressure can be as profound as any available medical treatment. (I'm not suggesting that you disregard medical treatments, but I am suggesting it it equally irresponsible to disregard lifestyle factors that can also have such a significant effect on IOP.)
Furthermore, by learning the skills to manage one's intraocular pressure in this way, one is learning skills of living right that translate into benefits in all areas of life. This approach is not about treating a disease -- it is about living healthy and supporting the body's own ability to regain balance.