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.