Irrigation of the Eye (Emergency Medicine)

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SAMPLE EXCERPT
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PRE-PROCEDURE
INDICATIONS
  • Exposure to acidic or alkaline chemicals
  • Foreign body removal
  • Exposure to bodily fluid
CONTRAINDICATIONS
  • Ruptured globe
EQUIPMENT
  • pH paper
  • Proparacaine (or similar topical ocular anesthetic)
  • Slit lamp
  • Normal saline bags and tubing (any clean water until irrigation fluids are available)
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Gloves and eye protection if exposure to infectious agents is likely **UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS**
  • Jeweler’s forceps (optional)
  • Morgan Lens (MorTan Inc, Missoula, Mont) (optional)
  • Lid retractor (e.g., Desmarres retractor) (optional)
ANATOMY
  • The cornea is a clear structure, composed of epithelium, basement membrane, stroma, Descemet’s layer, and endothelium.
  • Just beneath the cornea and anterior to the iris is the fluid-filled anterior chamber.
  • The conjunctiva is a layer of connective tissue covering the sclera and the inner surface of the eyelid.
  • The ocular surface consists of the cornea and the conjunctiva.

PROCEDURE
Sample excerpt does not include step-by-step text instructions for performing this procedure
The full content of this section includes:
  • Step-by-step text instructions for performing the procedure
  • Clinical pearls providing practical clinical tips from medical experts
  • Patient safety guidelines consistent with Joint Commission and OHSA standards
  • Links to medical evidence and related procedures

POST-PROCEDURE
CARE
  • Treat with antibiotic ointment 6 to 8 times daily and oral pain medications, if necessary.
  • An eye patch is not indicated.
  • If the pH does not return to normal after irrigation with several liters of saline, an ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately.
  • Follow up with an ophthalmologist within 24 hours of treatment.
COMPLICATIONS
  • Corneal injury due to irrigation methods
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