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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Goldmann applanation tonometry compared with corneal-compensated intraocular pressure in the evaluation of primary open-angle Glaucoma

Joshua R Ehrlich1, Nathan M Radcliffe1* and Mitsugu Shimmyo2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1305 York Avenue, New York, NY, 10021, USA

2 New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA

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BMC Ophthalmology 2012, 12:52  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-52

Published: 25 September 2012



To better understand the role of corneal properties and intraocular pressure (IOP) in the evaluation of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG); and to determine the feasibility of identifying glaucomatous optic neuropathy (GON) using IOP corrected and uncorrected for corneal biomechanics.


Records from 1,875 eyes of consecutively evaluated new patients were reviewed. Eyes were excluded if central corneal thickness (CCT) or Ocular Response Analyzer (ORA) measurements were unavailable. Presence or absence of GON was determined based on morphology of the optic disc, rim and retinal nerve fiber layer at the time of clinical examination, fundus photography and Heidelberg Retinal Tomography. Goldmann-applanation tonometry (GAT) in the untreated state was recorded and Goldmann-correlated (IOPg) and corneal-compensated IOP (IOPcc) were obtained using the ORA. Glaucomatous eyes were classified as normal or high-tension (NTG, HTG) using the conventional cutoff of 21 mm Hg. One eligible eye was randomly selected from each patient for inclusion.


A total of 357 normal, 155 HTG and 102 NTG eyes were included. Among NTG eyes, IOPcc was greater than GAT (19.8 and 14.4 mm Hg; p < 0.001) and the difference between IOPcc and GAT was greatest for this subgroup of patients with NTG (p ≤ 0.01). The maximum combined sensitivity and specificity for detection of GON occurred at 20.9 mm Hg for GAT (59%, 90%) and 18.4 mm Hg for IOPcc (85%, 85%) and the area under the curve was greater for IOPcc (0.93 vs. 0.78; p < 0.001).


IOPcc may account for measurement error induced by corneal biomechanics. Compared to GAT, IOPcc may be a superior test in the evaluation of glaucoma but is unlikely to represent an effective diagnostic test.

Open-angle glaucoma; Low tension glaucoma; Intraocular pressure; Intraocular pressure; Ocular tonometry