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Warmed Versus Room Temperature Saline Solution for Ocular Irrigation: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author: Ernst AA, Thomson T, Haynes M, Weiss SJ

Publication: Ann Emerg Med 1998 Dec;32(6):676-9

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that ocular irrigation with warm saline solution is more comfortable than irrigation with room temperature saline solution in normal volunteers.

METHODS: The study was a randomized, single-blind crossover trial, in which each subject received 30 mL warmed and 30 mL room temperature saline solution in opposite eyes. The solutions (warmed versus room temperature) and the order of irrigation (right eye versus left) were separately randomized. Physicians were blinded to solution temperature. Subjects rated the discomfort of irrigation on separate visual analog scales (VAS). The study had 80% power to detect at least a 12-mm difference in VAS readings.

RESULTS: Thirty-five volunteers were enrolled in the study. There was no gender effect or order effect for the 2 solutions. The mean VAS score for warmed saline solution was 15 mm+1-15 mm (SD). The mean VAS score for room temperature saline was 34 mm+/-24 mm (SD), (95% confidence interval for difference of 19 mm [10 mm to 28 mm], P <.0001, Witcoxon signed rank test). CONCLUSION: Warmed saline solution was both clinically and statistically more comfortable than room temperature saline solution as an ocular irrigant among normal volunteers. NOTE: “Warmed solution” was defined in the study as being between 90-100 degrees F (32.2 and 37.8 degrees C); “room temperature” is approximately 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C)

Thanks for the opportunity to sing the praises of the Morgan Lens! Those of us who have been in the field for a while wonder what we ever did without them!  We find two general uses for the lenses.   One is for contact irritation:  most typically, splashes.  After local anesthetic, for ease of insertion, the lenses fit comfortably on patients of all ages and provide gentle and thorough irrigation of irritant substances. We have many cases of this type.  The second most common use is for patients show suffer multiple injuries due to automobile accidents, major trauma, burns, falls, etc.  Not only does the lens thoroughly irrigate the eye, removing most or all of the debris that has accumulated, it more importantly frees up the nurse's hands so that she can perform other lifesaving functions.  Quite frankly, eye irrigation was treated as "the bottom of the list" often because other patient's other injuries were more devastating with higher morbidity and mortality.  Particularly in the burn patient, the soothing effect of the irrigation and potential to prevent infection or further injury, make it an easy to use, valuable asset for patient care.

Registered Nurse (Montana)

MorTan Inc.

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Why Use The Morgan Lens?

The Morgan Lens is used in 90% of hospital emergency departments in the USA and can be inserted in less than 20 seconds. There simply is no other "hands-free" method of eye irrigation. Nothing else frees medical personnel to treat other injuries or to transport the patient while irrigation is underway. Nothing is more effective at treating ocular chemical, thermal, and actinic burns or removing non-embedded foreign bodies, even when the patient's eyes are closed tightly. Its design makes it simple and straightforward to use so minimal training is required.