Tools of the trade: Schiotz Tonometer

tonometerby Dr Jeremy Jones, The Berwick Village Vet, VIC

I don’t use a tonometer regularly enough to justify the cost of one of the newer models. Instead, I decided to go with a traditional Schiotz tonometer.

What’s good about it

It’s an old-school manual instrument with no electronics. There is a small concave cup on one end of a plunger that’s placed against the eye. The plunger pushes back depending on the hardness of the eye and a needle on the other end of the device gives a reading. Local anaesthetic needs to be put on the eye prior to use.

It works best with compliant dogs but that is true of whatever type of tonometer you use. The dog needs to be in the right position and the instrument has to be vertical to the eye. It can be difficult but I’ve found that the Schiotz readings are accurate. I repeat the process many times to ensure that we are getting as accurate a measurement as possible.

As the Schiotz is a completely manual system, cleaning is very important. It’s a delicate instrument so a little care must be taken. However, I’ve been using my one for years and never had anything break on it.

A newer electronic version of a tonometer would probably be a better choice for a practice that takes a lot of eye readings. For my practice, where we don’t use a tonometer very frequently, the Shiotz is fine.

What’s not so good

It can be difficult to use, particularly with a non-compliant dog. I usually need multiple staff to help me get a reading.

Where did you get it


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