Improved Pupil Dilation With Medication-Soaked Pledget Sponges

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Use of multiple preoperative drops for pupil dilation has been shown to be inexact, to delay surgery, and to cause dissatisfaction among perioperative personnel. This article reports on an evidence-based, quality improvement project to locate and appraise research on improved effectiveness and efficiency of mydriasis (ie, pupillary dilation), and the subsequent implementation of a pledget-sponge procedure for pupil dilation at one ambulatory surgery center. Project leaders used an evidence-based practice model to assess the problem, research options for improvement, define goals, and implement a pilot project to test the new dilation technique. Outcomes from the pilot project showed a reduced number of delays caused by poor pupil dilation and a decrease in procedure turnover time. The project team solicited informal feedback from preoperative nurses, which reflected increased satisfaction in preparing patients for cataract procedures. After facility administrators and surgeons accepted the procedure change, it was adopted for preoperative use for all patients undergoing cataract surgery at the ambulatory surgery center.

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