In critically ill patients, normal eye protection mechanisms, such as tear production, blinking, and keeping the eye closed, are impaired. In addition, many other factors related to patients’ severe condition and treatment contribute to ocular surface disease. Reducing risk factors and proper eye care can have a significant impact on incidences of eye complications and patient quality of life after discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU). The aim of the study was to determine risk factors for ocular complication, especially those related to nursing care. The study was conducted in the ICU of a university hospital. Methods for estimating and analyzing medical records were used. The patient’s evaluation sheet covering 12 categories of risk factors for eye complications was worked out. The study group included 76 patients (34 patients with injuries and 42 without injuries). The Shapiro–Wilk test, the Spearman’s rank correlation test, the Mann–Whitney U test and the Friedman’s ANOVA test were used. The level of significance was set at α = 0.05. The most important risk factors for eye complications in the study group were: lagophthalmos (p
< 0.001), sedation (p <
0.01), use of some cardiological drugs and antibiotics (p
< 0.01), mechanical ventilation (p
< 0.05), use of an open suctioning system (p
< 0.01), presence of injuries (p
< 0.01) including craniofacial trauma (p <
0.001), high level of care intensity (p
< 0.01), failure to follow eye care protocol (p <
0.001), length of hospitalization at the ICU (p <
0.001), and the frequency of ophthalmological consultations (p <
0.001). There was no correlation between the incidence of these complications and the age and gender of the patients. The exposure of critically ill patients to eye complications was high. It is necessary to disseminate protocols and guidelines for eye care in ICU patients to reduce the risk factors.
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