Why Are My Ophthalmic Surgical Instruments Turning Colors?

Why Are My Ophthalmic Surgical Instruments Turning Colors?

The most important way to extend the life of your ophthalmic surgical instruments is to clean diligently and sterilize them after each use.


The reason your instruments change color is from errors that occur during the instrument sterilization process. Here are a few examples:

Dark brown or black stains - This may be caused by dried blood, the use of wrong detergents or acids

Light and dark stains - mineral deposits that occur from the use of water that is not demineralized and allowing the instruments to air dry.

Blue-black stains - This can occur from sterilizing two different kinds of metal, either in the autoclave or an ultrasonic cleaner

Brown and brown-orange stains - Unfortunately, these may indicate rust. One way to tell is by rubbing the spot with an ordinary pencil eraser. If the area underneath the spot is a depressed area, it is most likely rust. If not, the stains may be caused by blood that has been "baked-on", saline solution, a cold sterilization process, or the use of inappropriate detergents. Never scrub your ophthalmic surgical instruments with a rough abrasive or scouring pad of any kind. Small scratches will develop, and these will begin to rust.

It is very important to follow the factory recommended sterilization procedure so that the full life of the instrument can be realized. The procedure that Accutome recommends is as follows:

Begin the cleaning on the surgical field- use a gauze pad to wipe off blood or another bioburden. Instruments should not be allowed to dry, as it will be more difficult to clean them. This is especially true of aspirating instruments.

Clean the instruments manually using a neutral pH surgical cleaner.

It is especially recommended that they are cleaned in an ultrasonically heated unit that is ideally dedicated to ophthalmic instruments only. Demineralized or distilled water should be used.

They should be inspected closely for signs of wear. This should be done under a microscope or magnifier

Aspiration instruments may be cleaned with an air gun before sterilizing.

Place instruments on a finger mat in the sterilization tray, tips of instruments should be covered with vented instrument tips.

Sterilize instruments according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Allow to cool and dry before storing.

The professionals at Accutome may also be of assistance and can be reached at (800) 979-2020 if further help or instrument repair is needed

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