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Proview Eye Pressure Monitor

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Reviewed by Anna Dogole

If you have glaucoma, you will be interested in learning about one of Bausch & Lomb's newest products, the Proview Eye Pressure Monitor. What this device is, is simply, a small, lightweight gizmo with which you can measure your interocular pressure (IOP). This device is designed to enable you to monitor your IOP at home. Consequently, when you see your ophthalmologist, you can take with you a list of your pressure readings, which were obtained on various days and at various times throughout each day. This device should only be used in conjunction with regular visits to your eye doctor. It is not a diagnostic tool, merely a tool to help individuals monitor their pressure over the course of the day.

When you have your IOP measured by your eye doctor, you are only getting one reading. While this measurement can be informative, your IOP can fluctuate throughout the day, and a one time measurement will not discern this fluctuation. By measuring you pressure at home, throughout the day, you can chart the normal fluctuation in your IOP. This information can help your doctor to better understand and treat your glaucoma.

The Proview Eye Pressure Monitor is a small plastic device that looks like a snubbed-nose syringe. Rather than ending in a point, the end is flat. In short, the device is used by pressing the flat end on the top of your eyelid until you can see a phosphene. This is done while you are looking down and toward your elbow, with your eye partially open. The phosphene is a dark circle with a ring of light around it that you can see when pressure is applied to your eye. If you close your eye and press lightly on your eyelid, in the corner by you nose, with your finger you may be able to see a phosphene. Using the Proview is quick, easy, and painless. Most important, you do not have to have your eyes numbed, as you do with when you IOP is measured with a traditional tonometer in your doctor's office. This is a very brief outline on how the Proview is used. Click Here to view a PDF file with instructions on how the Proview is used.

Inside this device is a small spring. As the device is used, the spring is depressed, which in turn pushes a small arrow up a scale printed on the side of the device. This scale runs from 8 to 40 in increments 2 mm apart. IOP is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Eye pressure can vary from one person to another, but on average an IOP over 20 mm Hg is often considered high. Your eye doctor will help you to determine your normal range. In most cases, if you are using the device properly, you should get a reading that is close to your actual reading.

The Proview is deemed to be a co-management tool. It is designed and it is intended that you will use it in conjunction with seeing your eye doctor on a regular basis and with your doctor's knowledge. The device comes in a 'kit' which includes a very nice, zippered carrying case designed to hold the Proview monitor, a patient log book in which to record your readings, an instruction booklet, a brochure that explains what IOP is and contains information on glaucoma management, a credit card sized magnifier to help you read the scale on the monitor, and a couple of alcohol wipes with which to clean the monitor.

I found this device to be very easy to use. I did, however, get consistently high IOP readings with the monitor. In part this may be due to the extent of my peripheral vision loss. This loss makes it difficult for me to make out the phosphene. Nevertheless, with the aid of my eye doctor, and repeated in-office pressure readings gauged against the Proview's measurements, we were able to document that the readings I was getting with the device were consistently off. Once this discrepancy was figured in, I was able to extrapolate a reading that was almost an exact match for my 'real' reading. This is just one example of why it is important that the Proview monitor be used in conjunction with the services of your eye doctor. It also points out the importance of taking the device with you when you see your eye doctor so that you can see how close your readings match an 'official' measurement. Once my eye doctor helped me to determine a benchmark for my Proview readings, I was able to document the fluctuations and spikes in my IOP's and I was also able to follow my IOP readings on a daily basis - or as often as I wanted to. Unfortunately, if you are unable to 'see' a phosphene, you will not be able to use this device effectively.

The device itself is remarkably simple looking, but has the potential of being a true sight saver. It may take you several days of use to get comfortable using the device and to be able to constantly perceive a phosphene. One nice feature of this device is that it is totally 'hand' operated - no batteries or plugs. Not only does this make the device light weight, but also eminently portable. It is no thicker than your pinkie finger and about 2/3rds as long as a regular pen. The device also comes with a small, snap shut carry case that will easily slip into your pocket or purse, if you don't want to carry the larger, complete carrying case that holds the log book and other accessories. It should stand up to years of repeated use. According the informational materials that come with the device, it "... has been tested to provide at least 2 full years of IOP measurement without significant change in accuracy."

Remember, before purchasing this device, talk to your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will help you to determine if this device will be of aid to you. As well, he should be able to show you how to use it properly. While you do not need a prescription to buy this device, you will want to let your eye doctor know that you are using it so that you can work together to better manage your glaucoma and to monitor you IOP.

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This review was originally published - October 25, 2001


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