Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs in disinfecting eyelid speculums after examination for retinopathy of prematurity.
Methods: Two phases. Phase 1: 46 autoclave-sterilized eyelid speculums randomized into either a cleaned or control group following examination for retinopathy of prematurity. Speculums in the cleaned group were disinfected with a 70% isopropyl alcohol swab while control speculums were not cleaned. Bacterial and fungal cultures were then obtained. Phase 2: 20 autoclave-sterilized eyelid speculums inoculated with a clinically relevant dilution of adenovirus serotype 5 or herpes simplex virus type 2. Inoculated speculums were randomized into either a cleaned or control group.
Results: Phase 1: 17 (70.8%) of 24 cultures from the cleaned group yielded bacteria compared with 21 (95.5%) of 22 controls. Fungi were isolated from only 1 control and from no cleaned speculums. Phase 2: all speculums inoculated with adenovirus supported growth of the organism irrespective of cleaning with 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs. None of 5 cleaned speculums inoculated with herpes simplex virus type 2 supported viral growth, compared with 3 (60%) of 5 cultures positive for growth in the control group.
Conclusion: Cleaning eyelid speculums with 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs provided inadequate disinfection against bacteria following examination for retinopathy of prematurity and against adenovirus in a laboratory simulation.