Corneal Protectors in Periorbital Surgery

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have a few questions about an image on your website from an orbital asymmetry correction procedure which you performed years ago.

The image can still be found on your website, and is viewable from the link below:

My questions are about the blue medical “gauze” which was placed between the patient’s eyelids and globes to protect his vision during surgery. 

1. What is the technical name of this blue medical protective gauze? Or is it an invention of yours?

2. What is it made of, in terms of materials?

3. How much irritation is caused by its contact with the cornea?

I am concerned because, as someone who wears contact lenses, I have experienced how easily irritated or even scratched the surface of the cornea can become simply by contact with an insufficiently lubricated contact lens, whose composition is already over 50% water and is specifically designed for contact with the cornea. 

I’m sure some level of discomfort/irritation is expected, being that it is part of a surgical procedure, but in your experience do patients experience any severe levels of irritation or scratching of the cornea after contact with such a gauze? Is it lubricated or treated with an antibiotic in some way to prevent adverse effects?

Thank you for reading my questions. I suppose I am overly protective of my eyes..only have two of them after all.

A: The blue eye gauze to which you refer is not gauze at all. Those are devices known as. corneal protectors which are rigid plastic covers designed for the eye for protection during any form of periorbital surgery. Lubricating ointment is first placed in the eye and then the corneal protectors are placed which have already been lined with lubricating ointment. These corneal protectors are used injections all surgery around the eye for the express purpose of eye protection.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana