Accommodation and intraocular pressure

  • Gurjeet K. Rai

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The relationship between accommodation and intraocular pressure (lOP) has not been addressed as a research question for over 20 years, when measurement of both of these parameters was less advanced than today. Hence the central aim of this thesis was to evaluate the effects of accommodation on lOP. The instrument of choice throughout this thesis was the Pulsair EasyEye non-contact tonometer (NCT) due principally to its slim-line design which allowed the measurement of lOP in one eye and simultaneous stimulation of accommodation in the other eye. A second reason for using the Pulsair EasyEye NCT was that through collaboration with the manufacturers (Keeler, UK) the instrument's operational technology was made accessible. Hence, the principle components underpinning non-contact lOP measures of 0.1mmHg resolution (an order of magnitude greater than other methods) were made available. The relationship between the pressure-output and corneal response has been termed the pressure-response relationship, aspects of which have been shown to be related to ocular biometric parameters. Further, analysis of the components of the pressure-response relationship together with high-speed photography of the cornea during tonometry has enhanced our understanding of the derivation of an
lOP measure with the Pulsair EasyEye NCT.
The NCT samples the corneal response to the pressure pulse over a 19 ms cycle photoelectronically, but computes the subject's lOP using the data collected in the first 2.34 ms. The relatively instantaneous nature of the lOP measurement renders the measures susceptible to variations in the steady-state lOP caused by the respiratory and cardiac cycles. As such, the variance associated with these cycles was minimised by synchronising the lOP measures with the cardiac trace and maintaining a constant pace respiratory cycle at 15 breathes/minute. It is apparent that synchronising the lOP measures with the peak, middle or trough of the cardiac trace significantly reduced the spread of consecutive measures. Of the 3 locations investigated, synchronisation with the middle location demonstrated the least variance (coeflicient of variation = 9.1%) and a strong correlation (r = 0.90, p = <0.001) with lOP values obtained with Goldmann contact tonometry (n = 50).
Accordingly lOP measures synchronised with the middle location of the cardiac cycle were taken in the RE while the LE fixated low (L; zero D), intermediate (I; 1.50 D) and high (H; 4 D) accommodation targets, Quasi-continuous measures of accommodation responses were obtained during the lOP measurement period using the portable infrared Grand Seiko FR-5000 autorefractor. The lOP reduced between L and I accommodative levels by approximately 0.61 mmHg (p <0.00 I). No significant reduction in IOP between L and H accommodation levels was elicited (p = 0.65) (n = 40). The relationship between accommodation and lOP was characterised by substantial inter-subject variations. Myopes demonstrated a tendency to show a reduction in IOP with accommodation which was significant only with I accommodation levels when measured with the NCT (r = 0.50, p = 0.01). However, the relationship between myopia and lOP change with accommodation reached significance for both I (r = 0.61, p= 0.003) and H (r = 0.531, p= 0.0 1) accommodation levels when measured with the Ocular blood Flow Analyser (OBFA).
Investigation of the effects of accommodation on the parameters measured by the OBFA demonstrated that with H accommodation levels the pulse amplitude (PA) and pulse rate (PR) responses differed between myopes and emmetropes (PA: p = 0.03; PR: p = 0.004). As thc axial length increased there was a tendency for the pulsatile ocular blood flow (POBF) to reduce with accommodation, which was significant only with H accommodation levels (r = 0.38, p = 0.02). It is proposed that emmetropes arc able to regulate the POBF responses to changes in ocular perfusion pressure caused by changes in lOP with I (r = 0.77, p <0.001) and H (r = 0.73, p = 0.001) accommodation levels. However, thc relationship between lOP and POBF changes in the myopes was not correlated for both I (r = 0.33, p = 0.20) and H (r = 0.05, p = 0.85) accommodation levels.
The thesis presents new data on the relationships between accommodation, lOP and parameters of the OBFA,: and provides evidence for possible lOP and choroidal blood flow regulatory mechanisms. Further the data highlight possible deficits in the vascular regulation of the myopic eye during accommodation, which may play a putative role in the aetiology of myopia development.
Date of AwardJan 2007
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard Gilmartin (Supervisor) & James Wolffsohn (Supervisor)


  • Accomodation
  • intraocular pressure
  • pulsatile ocular blood flow
  • refractive error
  • vascular regulation

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