Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Glenda Lindseth


The purpose of this quasi experimental, clinical study was to determine whether taping of the eye or applying ophthalmic ointment along with taping of the eye yields a difference in occurrence and symptoms of corneal epithelial defects in surgical patients undergoing general anesthesia. Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory provided the theoretical framework for this study.

Fifty subjects were randomly selected from a convenience sample of surgical patients in two 300 bed hospitals located in a Midwestern state. The subjects ranged from 18 to 60 years of age. The subjects had no history of previous eye surgery or glaucoma, and were not currently wearing contact lenses. Patients with known allergies to tape or Lacra-lube were excluded from the study. Subject times were limited to three hours of general anesthesia.

The measurement tool used in this study was the Ocular Eye Symptom Sheet (Alcon Labs, Ft. Worth Texas). This tool was used to assess subjective symptoms commonly found with corneal epithelial defects. A pilot study of ten subjects was done to assure reliability. The instrument reliability had a split-half correlation coefficient of .64. Subjects who fit the criteria were approached by the researcher and informed of the study.

A questionnaire was used to measure the effectiveness of the Lacra-lube and tape methods of eye protection within 24 hours after general anesthesia. Pearson's t-test and Pearson's correlation r were used to compute the relationships between the variables. The probability was set at 0.05.

There were differences in the number of complaints between the two methods of eye protection. An overall scale score showed that the patients who had the ointment and tape applied had a significantly higher epithelial defect symptoms than the patients who had received tape alone (t = 5. 05, df = 48, p = 0.001). Results indicate that younger subjects had more complaints about the eye with ointment and tape than older subjects. Results also showed that the method of applying only tape to the eye had more complaints when the surgical time is longer than 60 minutes.

From the data supplied in this study the use of routine ointment and tape for eye protection for young adults and those with short surgical procedures is not recommended. In older adults and those with longer surgical times Lacra-lube appears appropriate for use.

Included in

Nursing Commons