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B. Levine, N. M. Radcliffe, C. Starr; Effects of Wearing Swimming Goggles on Intraocular Pressure. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):1276.
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To describe the effects of wearing swimming goggles on intraocular pressure.
Institutional review board (IRB) approval for this experimental design was obtained from the Lenox Hill Hospital IRB. A pair of standard Speedo (TM) swimming goggles were modified to create a 2cm hole through the central anterior lens, allowing intraocular pressure to be checked with a Medtronics Tonopen XL. After informed consent was signed, 20 healthy participants had their baseline intraocular pressure (IOP) checked in both eyes after the instillation of proparacaine. The participants were then asked to wear a standard pair of swimming goggles. The fit was then adjusted to provide comfort while maintaining a water-tight seal. While wearing the goggles, the IOP was measured at 1 minute and 5 minutes. The goggles were then removed and the IOP was remeasured after 5 minutes.
Twenty healthy participants (10 males, 10 females) completed the protocol. Average age was 29 years old. Average baseline IOP was 13.1mmHg OD and 12.9 mmHg OS. After one minute of goggle wear, the average IOP elevated to 15 mmHg OD and 14.6 mmHg OS. At five minutes, the average IOP was 14.3 mmHg OU. The IOP measurements taken during goggle wear were higher at both one and five minutes, and this elevation was statistically significant (student's t-test, 1 tail, paired, p < 0.001 at 1 minute, p < 0.01 at 5 minutes). There was no significant change in IOP from baseline after the goggles were removed (student's t-test, 2 tail, paired, p 0.817). Five of forty eyes (10%) had an increase in IOP greater than 5 mmHg at both one and five minutes of goggle wear.
Goggle wear can significantly elevate intraocular pressure. In the majority (90%) of non-glaucomatous individuals, these elevations, though statistically significant are less than 5mmHg and may not be of great clinical importance. However, in 10% of normal eyes, these elevations will exceed 5mmHg and may be of clinical significance. Whether this data has implications for individuals with primary open angle glaucoma who wear swimming goggles deserves further investigation.
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