Reference intervals for intraocular pressure measured by rebound tonometry in ten raptor species and factors affecting the intraocular pressure

ABSTRACT: Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured with the TonoVet rebound tonometer in 10 raptor species, and possible factors affecting IOP were investigated. A complete ophthalmic examination was performed, and IOP was assessed in 2 positions, upright and dorsal recumbency, in 237 birds belonging to the families Accipitridae, Falconidae, Strigidae, and Tytonidae. Mean IOP values of healthy eyes were calculated for each species, and differences between families, species, age, sex, left and right eye, as well as the 2 body positions were evaluated. Physiologic fluctuations of IOP were assessed by measuring IOP serially for 5 days at the same time of day in 15 birds of 3 species. Results showed IOP values varied by family and species, with the following mean IOP values (mm Hg +/- SD) determined: white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), 26.9 +/- 5.8; red kite (Milvus milvus), 13.0 +/- 5.5; northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), 18.3 +/- 3.8; Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), 15.5 +/- 2.5; common buzzard (Buteo buteo), 26.9 +/- 7.0; common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), 9.8 +/- 2.5; peregrine falcon, (Falco peregrinus), 12.7 +/- 5.8; tawny owl (Strix aluco), 9.4 +/- 4.1; long-eared owl (Asio otus), 7.8 +/- 3.2; and barn owl (Tyto alba), 10.8 +/- 3.8. No significant differences were found between sexes or between left and right eyes. In goshawks, common buzzards, and common kestrels, mean IOP was significantly lower in juvenile birds than it was in adult birds. Mean IOP differed significantly by body position in tawny owls (P = .01) and common buzzards (P = .04). By measuring IOP over several days, mean physiologic variations of +/- 2 mm Hg were detected. Differences in IOP between species and age groups should be considered when interpreting tonometric results. Physiologic fluctuations of IOP may occur and should not be misinterpreted. These results show that rebound tonometry is a useful diagnostic tool in measuring IOP in birds of prey because it provides rapid results and is well tolerated by birds.