Trans-scleral tactile tonometry: An instrumented approach

Péter P. Polyvás, Gholam Peyman, Eniko T. Enikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article describes a feasibility study of a novel trans-scleral tonometer based on the use of an instrumented form of digital palpation tonometry. Similar to manual digital palpation tonometery, trans-scleral tonometer utilizes two force probes offset by a fixed distance. Force indentation data from these probes have been shown to correlate with the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eye. Enucleated porcine eyes were used to experimentally validate the approach. The observed hysteresis in the force data was analyzed using an analytical model that accounts for the outflow of the aqueous humor. The predictions of the model indicate that the primary reason behind the observed hysteresis is stress relaxation (accommodation) in the visco-elastic corneo-scleral shell. Experimental data from eye distention and indentation tests were then used to infer the conditions under which the novel tonometer would be expected to have an accuracy of ±1 mmHg. Analysis of the data shows that indentation rates should be kept below 0.5 mm/s for a pressure range of 10-35 mmHg. Two commonly used pressure control protocols were tested in an effort to ensure accurate IOP values during the palpation tests. Due to the large increase of IOP during digital palpation, the trans-scleral (intra-vitreous) pressurization was found to be inadequate, leading to clogging of the line by the displaced vitreous. No such problems were identified when the eye was pressurized through the cornea and into the anterior chamber. Force data from multiple palpation experiments are used to generate calibration curves for a two-probe conceptual tonometer. The calibration showed that a 10 mN of force variation corresponds to 1 mmHg of IOP change. A possible implementation using a contoured facial mask is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-943
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2013


  • Digital palpation tonometry
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Tactile tonometry
  • Trans-scleral tonometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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