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PPE Guidelines For Your Optical Practice

PPE Guidelines For Your Optical Practice

18 June 2020

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Now that many optometry practices are starting to re-open following COVID-19, practice guidelines are essential in maintaining the safety of staff and patients. Although you may be screening patients by checking temperatures and utilizing COVID-19 screening questionnaires, the reality is that many people who become infected with this virus are asymptomatic.

Along with proper disinfection practices, having the right personal protective equipment (PPE) is your best defense against infection. Here are the items you should keep in stock at your practice:

  • Face masks. The American Optometric Association recommends the use of FDA-cleared face masks and NIOSH-approved or FDA-cleared KN95 respirators or higher (including GB2626-2006 KN95 from China), where possible. Note that cloth face coverings are not PPE. Additional face masks should be kept on hand for patients who do not come with their own face masks.
  • Face shields. Face masks provide some degree of protection but are even better when combined with a face shield. Ensure you have enough face shields on hand for the entire staff.
  • Protective eyewear. When possible, use protective eyewear. Some clinicians find that protective eyewear can interfere with the slit lamp exam or indirect ophthalmoscopy. It may be necessary to try a few different types to see what works best during the exam.
  • Gloves are necessary for situations where you may have direct contact with bodily fluids, blood, mucous membranes or broken skin. The clinician should take care not to have a false sense of security while wearing gloves. For example, you may cross-contaminate if you type on your keyboard after touching a patient’s eyelid and keep your gloves on in the process. In some cases, it may be best to use your fingers or a cotton-tipped applicator and wash your hands immediately afterward.
  • Hand sanitizer. Formulations should consist of at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

Other items to consider:

  • Slit-lamp breath shield. Use a breath shield that is as large as possible without interfering with the examination.
  • Disposable exam equipment. Consider one-time use equipment such as disposable tonometer prisms, single-use eye drop vials, pachymeter tip covers, etc.

Help Your Patients Stay Protected

Consider buying PPE products in bulk. Not only does it save money and ensure ample supply, but you can also sell these products to customers who may have trouble finding face masks and gloves.

You may have immuno-compromised or older patients who would prefer not to make an extra trip to the store to purchase PPE. Making them available through your practice is much more convenient for patients who already need an eye exam or to purchase glasses and contacts.

This is also an excellent opportunity to build patient loyalty by reminding your patients that you care for their eye health and overall wellbeing.

At R&D Optical, we have PPE in stock and ready to go! Please visit our website RandDOptical.com or call us at 513-273-4034 to learn more or place your order. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!

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