Background: Reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) is a primary goal of most glaucoma treatments. However, because the IOP varies during the day, single measurements performed in an ophthalmologist's office do not necessarily provide information on the peak level and fluctuation of the IOP. Methods: Home tonometry was performed to gain more information on the nature of the diurnal IOP curves and on their variability. One hundred seventy-six patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG), 55 subjects with ocular hypertension (OHT), and 18 control individuals measured their IOP five times daily at home for 4 to 8 consecutive days using a self-tonometer. Results: Well-defined diurnal IOP variations were observed in all three groups with a predominance of curves with morning or mid-day maxima. Erratic IOP curves without a diurnal rhythm were present in OHT (22%) and OAG (16%) patients but not in control subjects. Differences between the curves of the two eyes of an individual were frequent in OHT (33%) and OAG (36%) patients but not in control subjects (6%). Finally, the majority of OHT (72%) and OAG (66%) patients showed a difference in their diurnal curve patterns on repeat home tonometry performed months apart. Conclusion: The authors indicate that it is difficult to rely on one eye as a control for the other. They also indicate that changes in IOP observed in the office at different visits often may be due to a shift in the type of diurnal curve rather than to a true change in the mean IOP. Monitoring of the diurnal IOP may be necessary in some cases if the clinician relies, even partially, on the level of IOP when making a decision on patient management.
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