Petroleum Jelly: A Novel Medium for Ocular Ultrasound



      Ocular ultrasound is a useful emergency department imaging modality for evaluation of many conditions, such as retinal detachment, vitreous detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and elevated intracranial pressure. Obtaining satisfactory ocular ultrasound images requires the use of a medium that eliminates the air interface between the patient's eye and the transducer. Ultrasound gel is most commonly used; however, the use of a transparent dressing applied to the closed eye prior to the application of gel has also been described as a suitable technique.


      Ocular ultrasound is performed with the high-frequency linear array transducer using a medium to eliminate the air interface between the eye and the transducer. Although ultrasound gel is most frequently used, it can cause minor eye irritation. Placing a transparent dressing over a closed eye prior to application of gel can eliminate the eye irritation. However, our experience in training >500 students in ocular ultrasound has shown that air is frequently introduced underneath the dressing, which leads to poor-quality images. This article introduces petroleum jelly as a medium for ocular ultrasound. By applying a layer of petroleum jelly over the closed eye and allowing it to warm via body heat for 30 to 45 s, this medium can both minimize patient discomfort and provide easily obtainable, high-quality ocular ultrasound images.


      This article introduces petroleum jelly as a safe, comfortable, and effective medium for ocular ultrasound examination.


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