Why You Get Poked In The Eye During An Eye Exam

Posted on: 9 May 2017

Regular eye exams are important to maintain your overall eye health and to catch diseases early on before they can cause any damage. However, you probably aren't a fan of the part of an eye exam where your eye is poked with a pen-like object. If you're thinking of avoiding an eye exam or just hate this part of the process, keep reading to learn why it's such an important part of your exam.

What You're Being Poked With

The tool your eye doctor or their assistant is poking your eye with is called a tonometer. This device is designed to measure the intraocular pressure inside your eye. If your doctor pokes your eye multiple times, this is to ensure that they're receiving an accurate measurement, as the device is averaging out the measurements it takes.

Why You're Being Poked

There are a lot of factors that go into keeping eyes healthy, but maintaining a healthy intraocular eye pressure is one of the biggest ones. Intraocular eye pressure that's too low can impair your vision, and if it's too high, it can potentially make you go blind. Although the test may be slightly uncomfortable and awkward to have performed, it's an important part of making sure your eyes are well.

Associated Diseases The Poke Prevents

Having a tonometer test performed is one of the best ways for eye doctors to discover glaucoma early on. Glaucoma can severely harm your eyes and cause blindness, even if you don't experience any pain or discomfort from the disease. To make matters worse, glaucoma isn't restricted to older people or patients with other diseases that can trigger glaucoma. Glaucoma can also be caused by injuries to the eye, no matter whether the patient is a child or an elder. This is why tonometer tests are performed regardless of your eye and overall health.

Making it More Comfortable

If you really struggle with the tonometer test, you can ask your eye doctor to give you a little time to make sure that the numbing eye drops take full effect. In addition, your eye doctor can use a speculum to make sure that your eyelids stay open for the duration of the test. Since the test generally has to be started over from the beginning if you blink before it's complete, getting help keeping your eye open can make the overall testing process faster and less traumatic.

In the grand scheme of things, tonometer tests don't take long and have a major impact on keeping your eyes healthy and your vision safe. Although it may be an unpleasant few seconds, the benefits are well worth it.