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Warning: Wearing Swimming Goggles Can Increase Eye Pressure!

November 17, 2008
As many of you might know, I am an avid cyclist.  I try to ride at least 3 times a week, both road and mountain,  year round.  This gets difficult in New Jersey when the temperature dips into the teens.  My wife, Melissa rides with me usually a day a week, as she trains for triathlons.  This gets her into the pool at least 3 times a week!

An interesting article appears in the British Journal of Ophthalmology:  Wearing Swimming Goggles Can Elevate Intra ocular Pressure.  W H Morgan; T S Cunneen; C Balaratnasingam; D-Y Yu report that swimming goggles were measured to increase intra ocular pressure by 4.5 mm hg.  This is quite significant.  They further state that Swimming is a popular form of exercise with many swimmers wearing goggles to improve underwater visibility. Tension from the goggle headband keeps the goggles in place. This force acting on the goggles may compress orbital vasculature and other structures to cause an elevation in intra ocular pressure (IOP). Continuously elevated IOP is a significant risk factor for glaucoma development and progression.

The take away message from this article is that patients with glaucoma, or those predisposed, should consider the effects of wearing swim goggles in the management of their disease, and inform their ophthalmologist of this activity!

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