How to perform irrigation of the eye
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How to perform irrigation of the eye

Janet Marsden Professor of ophthalmology and emergency care, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England

Rationale and key points

This article aims to help nurses to understand the importance of performing irrigation immediately following chemical injury to the eye, and outlines the most effective technique. It is essential that irrigation of the eye is understood and performed correctly.

Chemical injury to the eye is an ophthalmic emergency. It presents a serious risk to the patient’s vision and may cause blindness.

The length of time the chemical remains in contact with the eye determines the severity of the injury.

Immediate irrigation of the eye is essential to minimise preventable loss of vision.

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:

How you would ensure immediate irrigation following chemical injury to the eye in your clinical area.

How you know when you have irrigated the eye for long enough, if you have previously performed this procedure, and how reading this article might influence your practice.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at:

Nursing Standard. 30, 23,36-39. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.23.36.s45


Peer review

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

Received: 21 November 2014

Accepted: 28 January 2015