ADMINISTERING AN EYE IRRIGATION

  1. Explain procedure to patient.
  2. Assemble equipment at patient’s bedside.
  3. Perform hand hygiene.
  4. Have patient sit or lie with head tilted toward the side of the affected eye. Protect patient and bed with a waterproof pad.
  5. Don disposable gloves. Clean lids and lashes with cotton ball moistened with normal saline or solution ordered for irrigation. Wipe from inner canthus to outer canthus. Discard cotton ball or use a different corner of washcloth with each wipe.
  6. Place curved basin at the cheek on the side of affected eye to receive irrigating solution. If patient is sitting up, ask him or her to support basin.
  7. Expose lower conjunctival sac and hold upper lid open with your nondominant hand.
  8. Hold irrigator about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from eye. Direct flow of solution from the inner to the outer canthus along the conjunctival sac.
  9. Irrigate until solution is clear or all solution has been used. Use only sufficient force to gently remove secretions from conjunctiva. Avoid touching any part of eye with irrigating tip.
  10. Have patient close eye periodically during skill.
  11. After irrigation, dry area with cotton balls or gauze sponge. Offer towel to patient if face and neck are wet.
  12. Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
  13. Chart irrigation, appearance of eye, drainage, and patient’s response.

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