Polyethylene eye covers superior to eye drops for comatose ICU patients

1. In comatose patients in the ICU, polyethylene eye covers were superior to artificial teardrops and normal saline eye drops for the reduction in incidence and severity of ocular surface diseases.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

For patients who are critically ill or comatose, eye care is often not considered a high priority due to the other life-threatening conditions that are present. However, Ocular Surface Disease (OSD) is a common complication in these patients, and insufficient eye care can lead to more severe issues such as corneal abrasions, ulcerations, perforations, and potentially loss of vision. Besides eyedrops, moisturizing polyethylene eye covers have some evidence supporting its feasibility, although its efficacy required further investigation. The current study compared the efficacy of polyethylene eye covers, versus artificial teardrops and normal saline drops, in reducing the incidence and severity of OCD for comatose patients. The study was based out of three intensive care units in Iran, involving 79 patients: 25 patients were randomized into Group A, receiving artificial teardrops in the left eye and normal saline in the right; 29 patients were in Group B, receiving polyethylene cover in the left and normal saline in the right; and 25 patients were in Group C, receiving polyethylene cover in the left and artificial teardrops in the right. The study found OSDs in 41.14% of the 158 eyes observed. When comparing the incidence of OSDs in Group A, the artificial drops were significantly more effective at preventing OSDs (p = 0.002). For Groups B and C, polyethylene covers were significantly more effective compared to normal saline and artificial drops (p = 0.001 and 0.008 respectively). In addition, the polyethylene eye covers were superior in reducing the OSD severity (p < 0.001). Overall, this study demonstrated the efficacy of polyethylene eye covers in lowering the incidence and severity of OSDs in comatose patients, compared to normal saline and artificial tear eye drops.

Click to read the study in PLOSONE

Image: PD

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