Intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements in children are frequently performed under halothane-nitrous oxide anesthesia; however, anesthesia face masks may limit access to the eyes, and tracheal intubation is associated with transient increases in IOP. Use of the laryngeal mask airway (LMA) permits the maintenance of a patent airway without the need for laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation. In a randomized study of 41 children, we compared the IOP, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, and hemodynamic responses to the insertion of an LMA or tracheal tube during a standardized steady-state anesthetic technique consisting of 1 MAC halothane and 66% nitrous oxide. Baseline measurements of IOP, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, heart rate, and arterial blood pressure were recorded and repeated within 15-30 s after insertion of the airway device and at 1-min intervals for 5 min. Insertion of the LMA required significantly less time (26 ± 16 vs 39 ± 17 s [mean ± SD]) and was associated with higher hemoglobin oxygen saturation values compared with the tracheal intubation. The LMA did not increase IOP, heart rate, or arterial blood pressure above baseline values. In contrast, tracheal intubation was associated with significant increases of IOP, heart rate, and arterial blood pressure. We concluded that the laryngeal mask offers advantages over tracheal intubation and the face mask for airway management in patients undergoing IOP measurements.