PURPOSE: To examine IOP measurement disagreement between technicians and physicians and the impact of an educational intervention on the short and long-term disagreement in IOP measurement using Goldmann applanation tonometry. DESIGN: Prospective study designed to enhance measurement reliability. SETTING: A glaucoma clinic at a university hospital. StudyPopulation: 6 technicians and 2 physicians. INTERVENTION: An educational intervention was implemented for the technicians to improve IOP measurement agreement with physicians. MainOutcomeMeasures: Frequency of IOP measurement disagreement between physicians and technicians, defined as a difference in IOP of >2 or >3 mm Hg and assessed at baseline and immediately and 6 months postintervention. RESULTS: IOP was evaluated for a total of 529 eyes (physician measured mean IOP = 16.4 mm Hg [SD = 5.9]), 30 per technician-physician pair for each data collection period: baseline, immediately postintervention and 6 months postintervention. At baseline, physicians disagreed 17% and 7% of the time when measuring IOP using >2 and >3 mm Hg to define disagreement, respectively, whereas the average disagreement between technicians and physicians was 25% and 13%. Disagreement was greater at IOPs greater than 20 mm Hg. No significant changes were noted in the frequency of disagreement between technicians and physicians immediately or 6 months postintervention. CONCLUSIONS: Two physicians measuring the same patient in the same room disagreed by >2 mm Hg in 17% of patients' eyes, and this amount of disagreement was even higher when comparing physicians to certified technicians. An educational intervention did not improve agreement in IOP measurements between technicians and physicians. This highlights an important limitation of Goldmann tonometry.
Glaucoma Center of Excellence, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.