What are Iris Scissors?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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Iris scissors are small scissors originally designed for the fine detail work of ophthalmological surgery. They have since been adapted for a wide range of other uses, including nonmedical uses such as crafts. Suppliers of medical-grade scissors often carry iris scissors, sometimes in a range of designs to meet various needs, and it is also possible to obtain scissors which have been designed for crafters. Both closed and open shank versions are available.

These scissors are very small, with a small and extremely sharp point. A pair of iris scissors is ideally kept as sharp as possible, as sharp scissors make for crisp cutting, which can be important in surgery. Some scissors have curved blades for certain types of precision tasks, while others may have straight blades. Special versions designed for left handed individuals can be purchased; buying scissors tailored to one's dominant hand allows for more control and dexterity.

In addition to being used during eye surgeries, iris scissors can also be used during other types of surgical procedures. Many emergency rooms also keep these scissors around for various medical tasks. In dissection and autopsy facilities, these scissors are often part of the tool kit as well; they are well suited to detail work, as when someone wants to examine an anatomical structure without damaging it with larger or heavier tools.


People who do crafts may use iris scissors for any number of precision tasks in crafting, such as making small and precise cuts in fabrics and plastics. Curved scissors can also be useful for tasks like snipping thread, as the curved blade ensures that the scissors will not accidentally nick or cut the fabric underneath the thread. Crafters should remember to sharpen their scissors regularly so they will perform as expected; if cuts start to seem ragged or blunt, it is high time for sharpening.

Like other bladed instruments, iris scissors need special care. The blade should be kept sharp and clean, and it's important to oil the moving parts of the scissors so that they will operate smoothly. The scissors should also be stored safely, with the tip being covered or the scissors secured in a storage container when they are not in use so that people do not accidentally cut themselves. Scissors designed for medical use are designed to be sterilized with antiseptic soap and an autoclave, and as a result they are usually highly durable.


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Post 3

I do a lot of arts and crafts in my spare time. I especially like to scrapbook and make cards. It is very true that sharpening your iris scissors has an impact on their performance. The straight iris scissors are a good size for making small, precise cuts by hand. So long as I keep them sharp, I have no problems with the performance.

Post 2

When I lived in a bigger city, I was going to school to earn my degree as a medical assistant. We spent some time going over how to make a sterile tray and knowing the name and purpose of common surgical instruments.

We also learned how to sterilize surgical instruments with an autoclave. I specifically remember seeing iris scissors with straight blades, curved blades, and also left handed iris scissors.

We learned how to do sutures on preserved pigs’ feet. If I recall correctly, we used iris scissors to cut the sutures. Since they are small, it was easy to use them up close to the flesh.

Post 1

I have been looking for some new barber scissors for trimming my bangs in between salon visits. I looked at iris scissors, but I don’t know if they would be good to use. I’m afraid I would end up with uneven bangs because of the length of the blades.

My mom keeps a pair of curved blade iris scissors in her bathroom, but I definitely did not want to try with those. I think I will stick to something with longer blades, but I’m sure I could find some other practical use for iris scissors.

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