New intraocular pressure measurement facility at the Czech Metrology Institute

Eye examination

EMPIR project consortium work together to transfer expertise to enable the establishment of a new centre of excellence

Measuring intraocular pressure with medical devices called tonometers is an effective way to screen for ocular hypertension - the only treatable risk factor for glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness.

Recently completed EMPIR project Developing research capabilities for traceable intraocular pressure measurements (16RPT03, inTENSE)  has established a centre of excellence in intraocular pressure metrology at CMI, the Czech National Metrology Institute. Prior to the start of this project, state of the art measurements in this technical area existed only at PTB, Germany’s National Metrology Institute. During the project knowledge from PTB was transferred to CMI, enabling the centre of excellence for intraocular pressure to be successfully established. CMI has now become a service provider to other Central European metrology institutes who, for lack of capacity or due to different priorities, can now refer their national customers to CMI.

Research Potential Projects such as this are a special kind of EURAMET projects within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR), and they aim to support participating organisations to develop basic levels of metrological research expertise in particular measurement research areas considered to be of national and regional priority.

The new research capabilities allow CMI to continuously respond to changing needs, and investigate potential new ophthalmological (the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye) measurement parameters, such as corneal thickness. Through CMI, ophthalmology professionals and manufacturers of tonometers in Central Europe now have a traceability chain to validate their devices and a standardised market, ensuring patients receive more effective glaucoma screening tests.

The work to establish this new centre of excellence includes:

  • Establishing a rigorous quality control system at CMI for all calibration activities and procedures related to intraocular pressure measurements
  • Setting up one to one training sessions, led by experts from PTB, where CMI gained the necessary technical, regulatory and legislative knowledge to become experts in intraocular pressure metrology
  • Performing clinical studies focussed on the external factors influencing the pressure values
  • Creating a virtual model of the human cornea as well as a real artificial eye model. The model eye enabled the virtual model to be validated.

Project coordinator Dominik Prazak from CMI said:

‘Based on the investigation of the relevant legal and practical conditions, the partners established a Central European smart specialisation in the field of intraocular pressure metrology. Moreover, this is a starting point for a broader smart specialisation across Europe for various medical devices with measuring function.’

This EMPIR project was co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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