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Surgical loupes can accumulate debris on every procedure or operation you perform. Because it is important that all tools, equipment, and devices that you use during surgical procedures are all infection free, you need to make sure that they are properly cleaned, sterilized, and disinfected using high-level disinfectant before and after each use. One of these tools that need to be cleaned and disinfected is the surgical loupe.
The lenses of the magnifying loupes for surgeons are manufactured with several levels of special protective coatings to ensure minimized flare and optimal color saturation, contrast, and color fidelity. The optical lenses are also typically created with a special anti-scratch coating. However, despite these protective coatings, they can still easily be damaged if proper handling and care are not diligently observed.
The optical lens can easily get scratched which can result to a blurred, distorted, or cloudy image. This is why you are advised to take extra care in using the loupes and to be as gentle as you can in cleaning and disinfecting them.
Infection control for surgical loupes
Infection control is quite difficult at best most especially if you only have one pair of loupes and you need to use them a few times a day. The fact that not all surgical optical loupes can tolerate constant application of high-level disinfectants makes infection control more challenging.
Thinking about these concerns, how can you be able to disinfect the loupes and at the same time protect them from getting damaged due to excessive application of high-level disinfectants?
One of the best ways to address this concern is to use high ethyl alcohol solution when disinfecting the optical lenses. Remember not to apply the solution directly onto any part of the loupe. It is recommended that you use extra soft cotton, magnifying lens fabric, or microfiber cloth when applying the disinfecting solution.
If your loupes have lenses that are water resistant, you can use disinfectant products like Lysol Disinfectant Spray. Again, do not apply the spray directly onto the loupes. Instead, spray the disinfectant onto a gauze sponge and use it to wipe the lenses, frames, and the other parts of the loupe.
Sterilizing the surgical loupes
Cleaning the surgical magnification loupes is really important. But then, cleaning alone is not enough to make them infection-free. You also need to sterilize them to make sure that all the microbial life are destroyed. But since you can not use autoclaving, dry heat, ultrasonic, chemiclave, gamma radiation or steam in sterilizing the loupes, you can instead use high-level disinfectants or high ethyl alcohol solution.
As much as possible, clean and disinfect the surgical magnifying loupes right before using it to maximize infection control. Also, avoid hand contact with the optical loupes during the surgical procedure.
Right after the conclusion of each surgical operation or procedure, clean the loupes to remove bodily fluids and tissue, debris, dirt, blood, and other biological materials. Never leave your optical aid without cleaning and disinfecting it first because doing so will not only give the microbial life to multiply quickly but also makes it even difficult for you to clean it afterward.