The Beaver Dam Eye Study is a population-based study of age-related eye diseases in persons 43-86 yr of age. Applanation tonometry was done on all study subjects. Mean intraocular pressure (IOP) increased significantly with age. Mean IOP differed little between the sexes and was not significantly different after age adjustment (in right eyes of 2721 women, it was 15.5 mm Hg, and in right eyes of 2135 men, it was 15.3 mm Hg). There was an association of IOP with systolic and diastolic blood pressures, body mass index, hematocrit, serum glucose, glycohemoglobin, cholesterol level, pulse, nuclear sclerosis, season, and time of day of measurement. These data confirm that, in a general population, IOP is associated with important systemic and ocular characteristics. Those characteristics should be considered in further research on determinants of IOP.