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November 1994

Current Tonometer Disinfection May Be Inadequate for Hepatitis B Virus

Author Affiliations

Melbourne, Australia

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(11):1406-1407. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090230016005

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA has been demonstrated in tear fluid,1 and hence the ocular surface is a potential source of infective HBV. We present results of a study that suggest that the current method of disinfection of Goldmann's applanation tonometer prism with 70% alcohol wipe may not be adequate for HBV disinfection.

The tonometer prism was contaminated with HBV by dipping it into HBV transfected cell culture fluid,2 air dried for 30 seconds, and subjected to disinfection procedures. These procedures consisted of a soap and water wash (30 seconds); a 70% isopropanol wipe; a 70% ethanol wipe; a wipe with distilled water; a 500-ppm chlorine soak (10 minutes); a 1% glutaraldehyde soak (10 minutes); and a tap water rinse. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was then used to detect residual HBV DNA in washings of the prism.

After each respective disinfection procedure, the prism was dipped and

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