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Puffer Test

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.

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