Purpose: An assumption for the one-eye therapeutic trial of ocular hypotensive drugs is the symmetrical variation of intraocular pressure (IOP) between the two eyes. We evaluated whether or not 24-hour variations of IOP in the two eyes are similar in healthy individuals. Design: Experimental study with human subjects. Participants: Ninety-one healthy individuals. Methods: We reviewed bilateral IOP data collected from 38 younger (18-25 years) and 53 older (40-74 years) experimental subjects housed for 24 hours in a sleep laboratory. Intraocular pressure was measured every 2 hours using a pneumatonometer in the sitting and supine positions during the 16-hour diurnal/wake period and in the supine position during the 8-hour nocturnal/sleep period. Measurements were always taken first in the right eye. For each age group, the two eyes' means, peaks, troughs, and ranges of IOP during office hours, the diurnal period, the nocturnal period, and the 24-hour period were compared. The coefficient of determination was used to examine the strength of association between the right and left IOPs. Main Outcome Measures: Bilateral IOP. Results: For each age group, the profiles of IOP variations were similar in the two eyes with either the habitual body positions (diurnal sitting and nocturnal supine) or the 24-hour supine position. Mean, peak, and trough IOPs in the right eye were slightly higher than those in the left eye during the defined periods. There was no difference in the IOP range, except for the supine IOP in the younger group during the diurnal period. Cosine fits of the 24-hour supine IOP indicate no difference in the estimated phase timing or the 24-hour variation between the two eyes. Coefficients of determination for single pairs of right and left IOPs were in the range of 0.311 to 0.741. Conclusion: Variations of 24-hour IOP in the right and left eyes are similar. However, because the strength of association between the two eyes is only moderate, it may be difficult to perform a one-eye therapeutic trial using single pairs of right and left eye IOP measurements.
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