The effect of swimming goggles on intraocular pressure and blood flow within the optic nerve head

Kyoung Tak Ma, Woo Suk Chung, Kyoung Yul Seo, Gong Je Seong, Chan Yun Kim

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Purpose: Goggles am frequently worn in the sport of swimming and are designed to form a seal around the periorbital tissue orbit. The resultant pressure on the eye may have the potential to affect intraocular pressure and blood flow of the optic nerve head. This study evaluates the influence of wearing swimming goggles on intraocular pressure (IOP) and blood flow of the ocular nerve head (ONH) in normal subjects. Materials and Methods: Thirty healthy participants took part in this study. The IOP of each participant was measured using a Goldmann tonometer. Measurements were taken immediately before putting on swimming goggles, at 5, 10, 30, and 60 minutes after putting on swimming goggles, and then immediately after taking off the goggles. Blood flow of the ONH was measured using the Heidelberg retinal flowmeter. Results: The average IOP before, during and after wearing the swimming goggles were 11.88 ± 2.82 mmHg, 14.20 ± 2.81 mmHg and 11.78 ± 2.89 mmHg, respectively. The IOP increased immediately after putting on the goggles (p < 0.05) and then returned to normal values immediately after removal (p > 0.05). Blood flow of the ONH was 336.60 ± 89.07 Arbitrary Units (AU) before and 319.18 ± 96.02 AU after the goggles were worn (p < 0.05). Conclusion: A small but significant IOP elevation was observed immediately after the swimming goggles were put on. This elevated IOP was maintained while the goggles were kept on, and then returned to normal levels as soon as they were taken off. Blood flow of the ONH did not change significantly throughout the experiment. These facts should be considered for safety concerns, especially in advanced glaucoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-809
Number of pages3
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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