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Eye care in ICU

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Author(s): Sivasankar S | Jasper S | Simon S | Jacob P | John George | Raju R

Journal: Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine
ISSN 0972-5229

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: Exposure keratopathy | Intensive care patients.

ABSTRACT
Context: Patients in intensive care units have impaired ocular protective mechanisms, resulting in a high risk of developing eye complications. Various eye care protocols are being used, but none is proven to be absolutely effective. Aims: To compare the efficacy of using a combination of ocular lubricants and securing tape over the eyelids (Open chamber method), with use of swimming goggles and regular moistening of eyelids with gauze soaked in sterile water (Closed chamber method), to prevent corneal epithelial breakdown in the sedated and semiconscious intensive care adult patient. Settings and Design: A randomized clinical study was performed. Patients with Glasgow coma scale score of £ 10/15, admitted into the Medical ICU of a large teaching hospital, over a four month duration, were studied. Materials and Methods: Patients were examined daily by an Ophthalmologist, using a portable slit lamp and the patient′s corneas were tested daily using 1% Fluorescein drops. Standard grading scales were used to record eyelid position and corneal and conjunctival changes. Statistical analysis used: Quantitative variables were described in terms of their relative frequencies in proportions. Null hypothesis was applied to derive the statistical significance of the observed variations in both the treatment groups. Chi-square test for relationships was used to assess the effect of specific variables on the development of keratopathy. Results: Sixty one patients (122 eyes) in the open chamber group and 63 (126 eyes) in the closed chamber group, were analyzed. Incomplete lid closure was seen in 74 eyes (30%). Exposure keratopathy was noticed in 39 eyes (32%) in open chamber group and ten (8%) in closed chamber group and was more severe in the former group. There was no difference in the incidence of conjunctival oedema in both groups. Incomplete lid closure and use of muscle relaxants, were significant risk factors for developing keratopathy. Conclusions: Use of swimming goggles and regular moistening of eyelids with gauze soaked in sterile water providing a moisture chamber, is more effective than using a combination of ocular lubricants and securing tape over the eyelids, in preventing corneal epithelial breakdown in sedated and semiconscious intensive care unit patients.
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