Why and When Should a Healthcare Worker Wear Eye Protection?
Protective eyewear is a filter that can change the transmitted light intensity and spectrum. The most effective and commonly used method to avoid damage to eyes caused by radiation is to wear protective glasses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Infectious agents are introduced to the eye either directly (e.g., blood splashes, respiratory droplets generated during coughing or suctioning) or from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects.” Anytime there’s a chance of that happening, workers must protect themselves with appropriate PPE.
Even with this high risk, eye protection is often neglected, especially among nurses. According to OSHA, non-use of eye protection is one of the primary reasons for eye injuries and transmission of infectious material.
When should a healthcare worker wear eye protection?
It should be noted that eye protection for healthcare workers does not limit to safety glasses but includes face shields too. Respirators–although they have special application–by their design provide effective eye protection as well, and should be used when necessary. A combination of PPE is advised in healthcare settings.
Safety goggles protect the eyes, eye sockets, and the facial area immediately surrounding the eyes. Indirectly-vented or non-vented goggles prevent splashes, sprays, and respiratory droplets. Anti-fog safety goggles offer the most practical and reliable use. Goggles with indirect airflow also reduce fogging. Some newer goggles also provide better peripheral vision. Safety goggles must fit snugly even over prescription glasses with minimal gaps.
When to use: Safety goggles do not provide protection against splashes and sprays to the whole face so they have limited application in irrigating wounds, suctioning secretions, and procedures where blood may spurt. They should used with face shields.
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