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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25730

Bosch, M M; Barthelmes, D; Merz, T M; Truffer, F; Petrig, B L; Bloch, K E; Hefti, U; Schubiger, G; Landau, K (2010). Intraocular pressure during a very high altitude climb. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 51(3):1609-1613.

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Introduction: Reports on intraocular pressure (IOP) changes at high altitudes have revealed inconsistent and even conflicting RESULTS: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of very high altitude and different ascent profiles on IOP in relation to simultaneously occurring ophthalmic and systemic changes in a prospective study. Methods: Prospective study in 25 healthy mountaineers who were randomly assigned to two different ascent profiles during a medical research expedition to Mt Muztagh Ata (7546m/24751ft). Group 1 was allotted a shorter acclimatization time prior to ascent than Group 2. Besides IOP, oxygen saturation (SaO2), acute mountain sickness symptoms (AMS-c score) and optic disc appearance were also assessed. Examinations were performed at 490m/1607ft, 4497m/14750ft, 5533m/18148ft and 6265m/20549ft above sea level. Results: Intraocular pressure in both groups showed small but statistically significant changes: an increase during ascent from 490m/1607ft to 5533m/18148ft and then a continuous decrease during further ascent to 6265m/20549ft and upon descent to 4497m/14750ft and to 490m. Differences between groups were not significant. Multiple regression analysis (IOP dependent variable) revealed significant partial correlation coefficient of Beta= -0.25 (p=0.01) for SaO2,and Beta = -0.23 (p=0.02) for acclimatization time. Discussion: Hypobaric hypoxia at very high altitude leads to small but statistically significant changes in IOP that are modulated by systemic oxygen saturation and correlate with optic disc swelling. Climbs to very high altitudes seem to be safe with regard to intraocular pressure changes.


7 citations in Web of Science®
13 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Pneumology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Date:1 March 2010
Deposited On:14 Dec 2009 12:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:38
Publisher:Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Publisher DOI:10.1167/iovs.09-4306
Official URL:http://www.iovs.org/cgi/content/abstract/iovs.09-4306v1
PubMed ID:19875651

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