A Systematic Review Regarding Tonometry and the Transmission of Infectious Diseases

Nicole Atkins, William Hodge, Bruce Li


Tonometry has been identified as a common method for measuring the intraocular pressure in patients. The direct contact between the tonometer and the eye may contribute to the risk of cross infection, especially of viral particles, from one patient to another. A systematic review was undertaken to address the likelihood of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and prion diseases transmission through the use of tonometers. Additionally, a comparison of the current tonometer disinfection methods is provided to assist with identifying which technique effectively reduces the risk of disease transmission. An electronic literature search was conducted using the following databases: Web of Science, EMBASE, CINAHL, SCOPUS, Biosis Previews, Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Dissertation indexes were also searched, and these included: Dissertations and Abstracts, and Dissertations and Abstracts - UK/Ireland. Additionally, the Clinicaltrials.gov trial registry was searched to identify any other relevant literature. Two independent reviewers critically appraised the articles retrieved through the literature search. In total, 11 unique studies were deemed relevant for this systematic review. The available evidence demonstrated that the use of tonometers contributes to the transmission of these infectious diseases in vitro. The results also demonstrated variability in determining the most effective tonometer sterilization technique against these infectious diseases in vitro. There was limited evidence available regarding the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and prion diseases through the use of tonometers. Additionally, due to the variability regarding the most effective sterilization techniques, it is difficult to identify which sterilization technique is most effective or adequately effective against these infectious diseases. Future research studies regarding infectious disease transmission through tonometry and sterilization techniques should be completed to more adequately inform infectious disease control guidelines.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(3):159-165
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr3294w


Tonometry; Transmission; Infectious disease; Cross infection; Sterilization

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