Joint Commission Spotlights Ophthalmology Device Infection Risks

The Joint Commission is calling attention to infection risks associated with several ophthalmology devices.

In a Quick Safety article, The Joint Commission notes that its survey data indicates there is "either a lack of awareness of the requirements or misinterpretation of manufacturer’s instructions — combined with lack of staff training and leadership oversight — related to the disinfection of ophthalmology devices."

The result: multiple immediate health and safety threat declarations.

Lack of reprocessing compliance has been observed with tonometers, YAG laser lens and eye specula. Such devices are used in clinics, procedure rooms, urgent care centers, emergency departments and other areas.

The Joint Commission notes that tonometers are particularly problematic because "disinfectants can dissolve the glue that holds the hollow tip together, causing the tip to swell and crack."

In the article, The Joint Commission shares several safety actions organizations should consider. These include reviewing cleaning and disinfection instructions, using U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved high-level disinfectants and ensuring manufacturer instructions for use are accessible and followed.