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Frequency of Goldmann applanation tonometer calibration error checks

Lookup NU author(s): Michael Birch, Neeta Ray-Chaudhuri


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Purpose: To investigate how quickly Goldmann applanation tonometers used in clinical practice develop calibration errors, and to determine the frequency of checks required to detect these errors. Materials and Methods: Prospective check of the calibration error of all Haag-Streit Goldmann applanation tonometers in the department at month zero, month one, and month four. The tonometers were checked according to the Haag-Streit method using a standard calibration check weight bar by two independent observers. Calibration errors were classed as ± 0.5 to 2.5 mm Hg, ± 3 to 4 mm Hg, or >± 4 min Hg. Torrometers with a calibration error greater than ± 2.5 mm Hg were returned to the manufacturer for re-calibration. Results: At month zero 2 of 34 (5.9%), at month one 3 of 29 (10.3%), and at month four 0 of 33 (0.0%) tonometers fell within the manufacturer's recommended calibration range of ± 0.5 min Hg. A total of 14 of 34 (41.2%) tonometers at month zero, 10 of 29 (34.5%) tonometers at month one, and 17 of 33 (51.5%) tonometers at month four were identified to have calibration errors greater than ± 2.5 mm Hg. Conclusions: Goldmann applanation torrometers are not as accurate as the manufacturer's recommended calibration error tolerance of ± 0.5 mm Hg would suggest. Calibration error of less than ± 2.5 min Hg is clinically acceptable. Calibration error checks should be carried out once monthly and tonometers with calibration error greater than ± 2.5 mm Hg returned to the manufacturer for re-calibration. Additional checks should be made if tonometers suffer specific damage. Ideally individual ophthalmologists should check calibration before each session.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sandhu SS, Chattopadhyay S, Birch MK, Ray-Chaudhuri N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Glaucoma

Year: 2005

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 215-218

ISSN (print): 1057-0829

ISSN (electronic): 1536-481X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/00061198-200506000-00009


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