No, It’s Not a Home Pregnancy Test

Sticking a pen in someone’s eye is a) usually a bad idea; b) occasionally hilarious; c) an important glaucoma screening test; or d) an interesting design challenge. For Bryce Rut­ter, the founder and CEO of Metaphase Design Group, it was particularly the last. His team—veteran designers of ­toothbrushes, coffee-cup lids, and computer mouses—was commissioned to rethink the tonometry pen, an ophthal­mologic instrument that tests for glaucoma by measuring intraocular pressure.

“If you are trying to bring a device very gently up to someone’s cornea, what’s the best way to do that?” Rutter asks. Metaphase’s answer, based on extensive observational research and ergonomic testing, is the Tono-Pen AVIA. Comfortable to hold, with a big easy-to-read display on each side, the tonometer has a grip style that keeps the bulk of the instrument out of the patient’s line of sight—making for a less intimidating experience than the usual pen-in-the-eye routine. The AVIA can also be used on animals, although Rutter emphasizes that his team’s interest was maximizing human comfort. “If we can solve that,” he says, “it will definitely work for Trigger.”

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