A Key Area to Avoid COVID-19 – Eye Protection

Andrea LeBlanc Breaux - Contributing Writer

Posted on Sunday 14th June 2020
PPE Eye Protection


COVID-19 infects us through the eyes, nose and mouth, making proper PPE one of the most important tools during this pandemic. It’s vital to pick PPE such as Surgical Goggles and Face Shields to protect an overlooked key body part - your eyes.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is understood to spread from person-to-person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the virus can spread in three ways:

1.      From coming into close contact (about 6 feet or two arm lengths) with a person who has COVID-19.

2.      From respiratory droplets that become airborne when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. 

3.      From touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

As stated by the CDC, “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. Eye protection provides a barrier to materials entering the eye and is often used in conjunction with other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, masks or respirators.”

Just as our mouths and noses are entry points for the virus, so are our eyes. Because of this, products such as KN95 Respirators, Surgical Face Masks, Surgical Goggles and Face Shields are critical to have available to use as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provided the following information concerning the use of goggles, face shields, safety glasses, and full-face respirators for infection control purposes in their publication Eye Protection for Infection Control. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/eye/eye-infectious.html

  1. Goggles

Appropriately fitted, indirectly-vented goggles* with a manufacturer’s anti-fog coating provide the most reliable practical eye protection from splashes, sprays, and respiratory droplets. Newer styles of goggles may provide better indirect airflow properties to reduce fogging, as well as better peripheral vision and more size options for fitting goggles to different workers. Many styles of goggles fit adequately over prescription glasses with minimal gaps. However, to be efficacious, goggles must fit snugly, particularly from the corners of the eye across the brow. While highly effective as eye protection, goggles do not provide splash or spray protection to other parts of the face. * Directly-vented goggles may allow penetration by splashes or sprays; therefore, indirectly-vented or non-vented goggles are preferred for infection control.

  1. Face Shields

Face shields are commonly used as an infection control alternative to goggles.** As opposed to goggles, a face shield can also provide protection to other facial areas. To provide better face and eye protection from splashes and sprays, a face shield should have crown and chin protection and wrap around the face to the point of the ear, which reduces the likelihood that a splash could go around the edge of the shield and reach the eyes. Disposable face shields for medical personnel made of light weight films that are attached to a surgical mask or fit loosely around the face should not be relied upon as optimal protection. ** In a chemical exposure or industrial setting, face shields should be used in addition to goggles, not as a substitute for goggles (ANSI Z87.1-2003 Practice for occupational and educational eye and face protection).

  1. Safety Glasses

Safety glasses provide impact protection but do not provide the same level of splash or droplet protection as goggles and generally should not be used for infection control purposes.

  1. Full-face Respirators

Full facepiece elastomeric respirators and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are designed and used for respiratory protection, but because of their design incidentally provide highly effective eye protection as well. Selection of this type of PPE should be based on an assessment of the respiratory hazard in an infection control situation, but will also provide, as an additional benefit, optimal eye protection.

Having Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in US warehouses is a huge advantage for volume buyers. PPE Source International has the experience and the focus to help end users, distributors, and resellers with IR forehead thermometersKN95 Medical Masks, and other PPE, including, civilian KN95 masks, and gel hand sanitizer in a range of sizes.

News: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext


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