Document Detail

What happens to intraocular pressure at high altitude?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17389492     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
PURPOSE: To investigate changes of intraocular pressure on ascent to high altitude. METHODS: The Apex 2 medical research expedition provided the opportunity to measure intraocular pressure (IOP) and central corneal thickness (CCT) in 76 healthy lowlanders. They all arrived in La Paz, Bolivia (altitude, 3700 m), where they spent 4 days before being driven more than 2 hours to the Cosmic Physics Laboratory at Chacaltaya (5200 m) where they stayed for 7 days. IOP and CCT were measured with a hand-held tonometer and ultrasound pachymetry on the first, third, and seventh days at 5200 m. Pre- and postexpedition CCT and postexpedition IOP readings at sea-level were also measured. RESULTS: IOP increased significantly from baseline after acute exposure to altitude before returning to baseline with time. IOP at baseline, change in IOP from baseline, and IOP at altitude did not predict symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or development of high-altitude retinopathy (HAR). CONCLUSIONS: Acute exposure to altitude caused a statistically significant but clinically insignificant increase in IOP. This finding may be partially explained by the change in CCT. IOP returned to baseline levels and possibly lower with prolonged exposure to altitude. Changes in IOP at altitude are not predictive of symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or development of high-altitude retinopathy (HAR).
John E A Somner; Daniel S Morris; Kirsten M Scott; Ian J C MacCormick; Peter Aspinall; Baljean Dhillon
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Investigative ophthalmology & visual science     Volume:  48     ISSN:  0146-0404     ISO Abbreviation:  Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-03-28     Completed Date:  2007-05-14     Revised Date:  2007-08-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703701     Medline TA:  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1622-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Gartnavel General Hospital, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Atmospheric Pressure
Cornea / anatomy & histology,  ultrasonography
Intraocular Pressure / physiology*
Microscopy, Acoustic
Middle Aged
Tonometry, Ocular
Grant Support
//Wellcome Trust

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