When it comes to ophthalmic equipment, proper cleaning and sterilization are very important to prevent infections. Cleaning, sterilizing, and storage are all part of keeping your tools in good condition and ready for your next patient. If you need a refresher on this process, follow this guide to ophthalmic instrument cleaning and sterilization for the basics of keeping your utensils clean and preventing contamination.
You should perform the cleaning and decontamination processes of ophthalmic equipment independently of other nonophthalmic instruments. Make sure to fully separate clean ophthalmic equipment from soiled ones as well. When cleaning by hand, use a soft brush or sponge that complies with the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. Follow these directions for the volume and type of water to wash with as well. Make sure you’re also cleaning and sterilizing your cleaning brushes daily unless you choose to use disposable ones.
Once you have finished cleaning the instruments, you can move on to sterilizing them. Always reference the instrument’s manufacturer guidelines for the sterilization process. One of the most common sterilization processes involves the use of an autoclave. These machines release pressurized steam to kill microorganisms that may be lurking on your utensils. Another method is chemical sterilization, which you would use for materials that are sensitive to the heat or steam from an autoclave. This process uses liquid sterilant with oxidizing agents. These agents can be hazardous, so always use the proper safety equipment when handling chemical sterilant.
Don’t forget about proper storage when it comes to cleaning your utensils. Storage is just as important as the cleaning process itself because it maintains the clean and sterile status of your equipment. You can store small instruments in individual sterilization pouches. Always make sure to place the tonometer tip covers back onto their instruments to prevent damage. You should always put equipment back where it belongs and label storage spots correctly to avoid confusion.
These steps all promote a clean and sanitary work environment and ensure tools are ready for use for your next patient. We hope this guide to ophthalmic instrument cleaning and sterilization has helped educate you on proper cleaning practices and how you can inspect your own cleaning process in the future.