Specimen Collection Manual for University of Iowa Physicians, Surgeons, and Staff

The purpose of this collection manual is to provide specimen collection information to the Ophthalmology Department Nursing Station, Ambulatory Surgery Center, General OR, Iowa River Landing Clinic, Frozen Section Room and any other areas providing patient specimens to the F. C. Blodi Eye Pathology Laboratory, room 233, Medical Research Center building (MRC). This manual is found on the Ophthalmology Department’s website at: www.medicine.uiowa.edu/eye.  Follow the path by clicking as follows: Patient Care → Labs and Screening → Ophthalmic Pathology. Notifications of annual review and updates are sent by e-mail to all Ophthalmology staff, the Main OR, Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC), Children’s Hospital OR, Frozen Section Room, and Iowa River Landing clinic.

Specimen collection begins with the removal of a fluid or a piece of tissue from a patient during a surgical procedure.  If the procedure requires stat/rush or special attention, (i.e: Acanthamoeba scraping, temporal artery biopsy, etc.) the F.C. Blodi Eye Pathology Laboratory should be contacted in advance of the procedure as the Eye Pathology Laboratory must prepare equipment and materials for these particular procedures prior to receiving the specimen.  Dr. Syed (pager 2438) needs to be informed in advance for all fine needle aspiration procedures.

View full manual as a PDF

General Information on Collection and Handling of Specimens

Laboratory Hours

Routine Pick-up

  • The Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM excluding UIHC holidays.
  • Ophthalmic Pathology has one routine specimen pick-up time between 2:30 and 3 PM Monday – Friday excluding UIHC holidays.

Exceptions to Routine Pick-up Time

  • Temporal artery biopsies: See section below if a temporal artery biopsy is to be processed for stat/same day results.
  • Fine Needle Aspirations:  See section regarding fine needle aspirations below
  • Corneal Epithelial Scrapings: See section covering Corneal Epithelial Scrapings below.

Handling, Labeling and Transportation of Specimens and Ophthalmic Pathology Consultation Request Forms

  • Attending Surgeon Responsibilities
  • Operating Room and Ophthalmology Nursing Staff Responsibilities
  • Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory Responsibilities

Rejection of Specimens

  • Sending Information to the Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory
  • Giving Patient Information to Physicians
  • Copies of Final Reports

Special Procedure Specimen Collection

  • CJD/Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Corneal Epithelial Scraping for Acanthamoeba 
  • Electron Microscopy 
  • Fine Needle Aspirations
  • Frozen Sections on Ophthalmic Tissue 
  • Direct Immunofluorescence
  • Metabolic Diseases (ie. gout, cystinosis, storage disease)
  • Temporal Artery Biopsies
  • Vitreous tap (Intraocular biopsy, fluid and tissue fragments from the posterior segment of the eye)

Routine Specimen Collection by Specimen Type

  • Autopsy Eye
  • Ciliary Body (Iridocyclectomy specimen)
  • Conjunctiva
  • Corneal Biopsy
  • Corneal Buttons (tissue from transplant procedures) 
  • Descemet Membrane 
  • Enucleation (Eyeball/Globe)
  • Evisceration
  • Exenteration (Eye and orbital contents)
  • Eyelid/Skin
  • Foreign Body
  • Intraocular Lens (IOL) Implants and Other Ocular Devices
  • Iris
  • Lacrimal System (lacrimal gland or sac) 
  • Muscle
  • Optic Nerve
  • Optic Nerve Sheath
  • Orbital Biopsy (Routine, not for suspected lymphoid lesion)
  • Orbital Lymphoid Lesion 
  • Pediatric Orbital Tumor
  • Pterygium
  • Trabecular Meshwork

Physician Notification

If the specimen diagnosis is critical to the patient’s treatment and requires immediate attention, the pathologist will contact the attending physician as soon as the diagnosis is complete.

  • The above information is documented in the “Comment” section of the eye pathology report along with the following information:
    • Date
    • Time
    • First and last name of person notified

All reports are sent electronically sent to the attending physician’s Epic in-box as a “Resulted Test” for in-house cases.

A hard copy is printed out, bound, and retained indefinitely in the F.C. Blodi Eye Pathology Laboratory.


  • Sheehan, Dezna C. and Barbara B. Hrapchak: Theory and Practice of Histotechnology, 2nd Ed.; C.V. Mosby Co., St. Louis, MO; 1980.
  • Preece, Ann: A Manual for Histologic Technicians, 3rd Ed.; Little, Brown & Co., Inc.; Boston, MA; 1972.
  • Aldrich: Catalog and Handbook of Fine Chemicals; Aldrich Chemical Co., Inc.; Milwaukee, WI; 1986.
  • Safety Data Sheets

Ophthalmic Pathology Consultation Request Form