Strategies for Conserving the Supply of Eye Protection
Conventional Capacity Strategies
Use eye protection according to product labeling and local, state, and federal requirements
In healthcare settings, eye protection is used by healthcare personnel (HCP) to protect their eyes from exposure to splashes, sprays, splatter, and respiratory secretions. Single use eye protection should be removed and discarded. Reusable eye protection should be cleaned and disinfected after each patient encounter.
Transition eye protection supplies from disposable (i.e., single use) to reusable devices (i.e., reusable face shields or goggles)
- When both respiratory and eye protections are needed, consider preferential use of powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) or full facepiece elastomeric respirators which have built-in eye protection.
- Ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfection after each use if reusable face shields or goggles are used.
Contingency Capacity Strategies
Implement extended use of eye protection
Extended use of eye protection is the practice of wearing the same eye protection for repeated close contact encounters with several different patients, without removing eye protection between patient encounters. Extended use of eye protection can be applied to single use and reusable devices.
- Reusable eye protection should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer instructions whenever it is removed and if it becomes visibly soiled or difficult to see through during use. Single-use eye protection should be discarded after removal unless also implementing reuse as a Crisis Capacity Strategy (see below).
- Eye protection should be discarded if damaged (e.g., face shield or goggles can no longer fasten securely to the provider, if visibility is obscured and cleaning and disinfecting does not restore visibility).
- HCP should take care not to touch their eye protection. If they touch or adjust their eye protection, they must immediately perform hand hygiene.
- HCP should leave the patient care area if they need to remove their eye protection.
Crisis Capacity Strategies
Use eye protection devices beyond the designated shelf life during patient care activities
If there is no date available on the eye protection device label or packaging, facilities should contact the manufacturer. The user should visually inspect the product prior to use and, if there are concerns (such as degraded materials), discard the product.
Re-use disposable (single use) eye protection
It may be possible to re-use disposable (or single use) eye protection during severe shortages. However, it is possible that the integrity of the single use eye protection may be degraded after multiple uses or following contact with cleaners or disinfectants. If implementing reuse, disposable eye protection should be dedicated to one HCP and appropriate cleaning and disinfection should be performed after each use and if it becomes visibly soiled or difficult to see through during use. Eye protection should be discarded if damaged (e.g., face shield or goggles can no longer fasten securely to the provider, if visibility is obscured and cleaning and disinfecting does not restore visibility)..
Protocol for removing, cleaning, and disinfecting eye protection when manufacturer instructions are unavailable
When manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection are unavailable, such as for single use disposable face shields or goggles, consider the following process:
- While wearing a clean pair of gloves, carefully wipe the inside, followed by the outside of the face shield or goggles using a clean cloth saturated with neutral detergent solution or a cleaner wipe.
- Carefully wipe the outside of the face shield or goggles using a wipe or clean cloth saturated with hospital disinfectant solution. Follow disinfectant product label instructions for safety precautions, concentration, and contact time.
- Wipe the outside of the face shield or goggles with clean water or alcohol to remove residue.
- Fully dry (air dry or use clean absorbent towels).
- Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
- Store cleaned and disinfected eye protection onsite, in a designated clean area within the facility.
Prioritize eye protection for selected activities such as:
- Essential surgeries and procedures for which eye protection is recommended.
- During care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated.
- During unavoidable activities with prolonged face-to-face or close contact with a potentially infectious patient for which eye protection is recommended.
Consider using safety glasses (e.g., trauma glasses) that have extensions to cover the side of the eyes
- However, protective eyewear (e.g., safety glasses, trauma glasses) with gaps between glasses and the face likely do not protect eyes from all splashes and sprays.