Muscular and intraocular pressure responses among ocular-hypertensive subjects: is there a rationale for biofeedback?

Biofeedback Self Regul. 1985 Dec;10(4):275-88. doi: 10.1007/BF00999258.


Several animal and human investigations have indicated that intraocular pressure (IOP) levels may be associated with extreme drug-induced changes in the extraocular muscles. Further, recent data suggest that, among individuals with normal IOP level, moderate increases in facial muscle (EMG) activity around the eye while the eye is open are associated with increases in IOP. To investigate further the relationship between facial EMG activity and IOP levels and to examine a group of individuals with elevated IOP levels, subjects were recruited from outpatients at an optometry clinic. Three groups of subjects were selected: a group of ocular hypertensive subjects who showed elevated pressures at the optometry clinic and upon the day of testing, a group of labile ocular hypertensive subjects who evinced elevated pressures during their visit to the optometry clinic but lower pressures on the day of testing, and a group of normal IOP subjects who showed normal pressures both during their optometry clinic visit and on the day of testing. To investigate anxiety differences, subjects were administered the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, but subsequent analysis revealed no group differences. To evaluate the role of stress upon muscle (EMG) functioning around the eye, subjects were subjected to imagery and standardized mental arithmetic stressors; analyses of these results also revealed no significant group differences. Finally, subjects were given EMG biofeedback for muscle activity around the eye while IOP was assessed during five alternating periods in which they made decreases and increases in EMG activity. Results revealed significant group, period, and group by period interaction effects. The pattern of results is interpreted as implicating EMG activity in IOP fluctuations; the implications of these data for potential biofeedback and stress management treatments are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Facial Muscles / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Male
  • Ocular Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Ocular Hypertension / psychology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology