How to examine an eye
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How to examine an eye

Janet Marsden Professor of Ophthalmology and Emergency Care, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England

Rationale and key points

This article aims to assist nurses to perform a systematic external examination of the eye with the minimum of equipment. The eyes form a complex anatomical system, about which nurses often lack confidence.

Eye problems are a relatively common reason for presentation to emergency departments and primary care.

The nurse requires a knowledge of the underlying anatomy and physiology to perform an eye examination.

Nurses in non-specialist settings should be able to assess the integrity of the eye and decide whether specialist referral and examination is required.

Eye examination requires few elements of equipment and should be systematic.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

What further knowledge and skills you require to enable you to explain to the patient what might be occurring when they have an eye problem.

How you will gain this knowledge.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at:

Nursing Standard. 30, 13, 34-37. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.13.34.s44


Peer review

All submissions are subject to external double-blind peer-review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 26 September 2014

Accepted: 25 March 2015

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