Infection Prevention and Control in Ophthalmic Care Settings

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Standard Precautions are required in the care of all patients at all times

  • Hand hygiene
    • Perform before and after all patient encounters, including instillation of eye medication
    • Use soap and warm water; rub for at least 15 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub hands until dr
  • Personal protective equipment  
    • Gloves for contact with mucous membranes (including eyes), non-intact skin if the patient exhibits sign of infection or when contact with blood or body fluids is possible
    • Mask and face shield or eye protection when splashing or spraying of blood or body fluids is possible

Patient Examination Area

  • Designate specific examination rooms for patients presenting with eye infections, if possible 
  • Clean and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces (per manufacturer instructions for application and contact time) after the patient is discharged
    • Including:
      • exam chair
      • chin rest
      • head rim
      • hand grips

Equipment and Instruments

  • Use disposable examination materials when possible
  • Reusable instruments used for exams that touch mucous membranes of the eye should be subjected to high-level disinfection or sterilization
    • Instruments include, but are not limited to, slit-lamps, tonometers, contact diagnostic and treatment lenses
  • All surgical instruments must be properly sterilized after each use 


  • Single-use medication vials should be used when possible. 
    • If multi-use eye drop vials are used, the vial must not have contact with the patient. 
    • If the bottle does contact the patient’s eye it must be discarded immediately.
  • Dispose of swabs and tissues used in the instillation of eye drops immediately


  • Dispose of soiled dressings immediately after dressing change

If you have further questions or to report cases you can call the Minnesota Department of Health during normal business hours: 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.

Updated Tuesday, 16-Nov-2010 12:22:06 CST