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Item 10944 lifts sales of foreign body removal kits


OptiMed’s foreign body removal kit


Helen Carter


Foreign body removal kits have been flying out the door since the introduction of an MBS item for removal of embedded corneal foreign bodies by optometrists.

Optometry Australia advocated strongly for Medicare item 10944, the first procedural item for the profession in the Optometrical Benefits Schedule. It carries a full scheduled fee of $72.15 and enables optometrists to claim an 85 per cent MBS fee of $61.35 for the complete removal of an embedded foreign body from the cornea, not more than once on the same day by the same practitioner, excluding after-care.

Tanya Samson, consumable sales and ECP specialist for OptiMed, said OptiMed had offered a Foreign Body Removal Kit, also known as an Anterior Segment Kit, to optometrists for a number of years. ‘Since the Medicare item came in on 1 September 2015, the interest in our inexpensive instruments has grown significantly,’ she said.

The kit compromises a golf club spud, double-ended lacrimal dilator, jewellers forceps, double-ended scleral depressor, lid retractor, cilia forceps, Barraquer speculums for child and adult, general eye scissors, autoclavable instrument tray, a box of 100 25-gauge Terumo needles, a box of 100 5 ml slip tip syringes, Alger brush 0.5mm/1mm and a single reuseable lacrimal cannula.

Optometry Australia’s clinical practice note on removal of embedded corneal foreign body states that the equipment required includes topical anaesthetic ophthalmic solution (Alcaine, Ophthetic), sodium fluorescein strips, cotton-tipped applicator, sterile saline fluid for irrigation, a device to remove the foreign body (eye spud or a sterile 25-gauge needle) and a slitlamp.

The note states that it is not recommended that an optometrist remove a foreign body if the corneal foreign body has penetrated the globe or lacerated the cornea or sclera, the pupil is dilated or of abnormal shape, there is blood in the anterior chamber (hyphaema) or the optometrist does not feel confident about the procedure.

In these cases, the optometrist should refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for emergency treatment or the emergency unit at a hospital for urgent assessment and treatment.

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