How do you manage probes for the Icare tonometer for personal use?
Entering edit mode
27 days ago

I am new with Icare. How do you manage probes? How often you replace them? If you use 1 probe for more than one reading, how do you preserve the probe used to avoid contamination?

tonometer-maintenance tonometer icare self-tonometry • 99 views
Entering edit mode
27 days ago
david 2.5k

I am replying as a patient. This reply is not an official Icare policy and your doctor may not support this advice. However, this is how I and hundreds of FitEyes members have been managing our Icare probes for many years -- nearly 15 years in my case, and across more than one Icare model.

In a clinic, probes must be discarded for the safety of each patient, but when you are the only user, you can reuse probes multiple times if you clean them. Over time, they can be damaged or wear out. If you drop one on the floor it must be discarded, mainly due to bending.

Wear is very minor, and a single probe can probably be reused hundreds of times if it is cleaned and handled carefully to avoid bending.

When reusing a probe, you can leave it in the Icare. It is too easy to bend the probe if you remove and reinsert it for every measurement.

There are some comments from FitEyes members on our email discussion list:

I re-use the same probe for 1-2 weeks.

Using the same probe for multiple days or a week is generally fine (possibly even without cleaning it during that period). You can just leave it in the Icare. If you don't take many measurements, maybe two weeks is OK.

However, generally it is a good idea to clean the probe tube about once a week. If you use the same probe for two weeks, then I think you should clean the probe tube when you change the probe.

The probe tube is the part inside the tonometer that the probe moves inside. It's a metal shaft or tube. It comes out when you remove the cover. See the manual.

With proper care and cleaning, I am able to reuse a probe for far more than two weeks. I think I have some probes I have been using for 3 months (maybe more). I will use a probe for multiple days, clean it, then use it over and over again. They will eventually wear out, but that takes a long time.

However, the probes do eventually wear out. If you look under magnification at a probe that's been used for several months the plastic tip ends up with small "nicks and abrasions". I think this could allow colonies of microbes to grow so I generally throw a probe out after 3 months or so of daily use (hundreds of measurements).

I have also noticed signs of wear on the probe shaft of probes that have been used hundreds of times. So they do eventually wear out. But since we can get hundreds of uses per probe, a box of 100 probes could potentially cover tens of thousands of measurements, making the cost of them very minor. I have not had to buy a new box of probes in years, actually. (But I also use my Reichert more than my Icare now.)

I usually clean it with an alcohol wipe at the end of each day.

I don't recommend this method. If you use it, you will need to be careful you don't bend it. I prefer to clean multiple probes at the same time. I gently swish them around in isopropyl alcohol then blow dry with a can of compressed air. I put the clean & dry probes back into their plastic probe containers they came in. (I mark the containers with a colored marker so I know they are cleaned as opposed to new.) I can do this without handling the probes, so I don't risk bending them.

I can clean the probe tube at the same time I clean the probes. I blow compressed air through the tube.

I only move on to a fresh probe if it falls out onto the floor or if I notice difficulty in getting readings which sometimes indicates a bent/damaged probe.

Yes, when reusing probes, watch out for this. But most people I know are reusing probes many, many times. One box of probes can potentially last many years, especially once you are past the learning phase of self-tonometry.

You will need to replace the probe tube periodically -- maybe once a year or once a couple years, depending on how many measurements you take and how clean you keep everything.

Entering edit mode

Not sure if recommended or not, but I have been -- very carefully -- tipping the Icare and letting the probe go back into its plastic tube then putting the cover on. That seemed preferrable to letting it sit in the Icare uncovered. I suppose I could also try covering the Icare but that's not an option if I am taking it with me somewhere.

Entering edit mode

Yes, that seems reasonable. However, keep in mind that the inside of the plastic probe container will now need cleaned when you clean your probe. It should be a simple process. I think I would clean it the same way I clean probes. (I have not tried cleaning the plastic tube/container because I only put clean probes back into them.)

I have a cover that covers the probe while it is in the Icare. It's not available through Icare -- it's something I came up with. I will inquire about making these covers available through (or the FitEyes store). They cost only a few dollars and last a long time. The inside of it should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol, like a probe, any time you reuse the cover with a new or cleaned probe. The same cleaning technique mentioned above should be fine.


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