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Make eye irrigation less painful for patients
While performing irrigation to flush the eye after foreign body or chemical irritation, the ophthalmic anesthetic usually gets washed away, and the patient begins to complain about pain of irrigation.
Janice C. Taylor, RN, BSN, CEN, an ED nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham, WA, offers the following solution: Put some of the anesthetic in a syringe so you periodically can inject some of the anesthetic into the irrigation solution to keep the patient comfortable, she suggests. Prior to its use, you should clarify that the patient is not allergic to the "caines" class of local anesthetics, including lidocaine, marcaine, tetracaine, or alcaine, Taylor advises.
"Just inject 0.5 cc every two or three minutes," says Taylor. "This can be done for manual irrigations or in conjunction with the Morgan lens."
The Morgan lens looks like a contact lens attached to intravenous (IV) tubing, she explains. "You connect a bag of IV solution to regular IV tubing and [connect] that to the lens," she says.
[Editor’s note: For more information, contact Janice C. Taylor, RN, BSN, CEN, Emergency Department, St. Joseph Hospital, 2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225. E-mail: JTaylor@peacehealth.org.]