Do modern spectacles endanger surgeons? The Waikato Eye Protection Study.

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Annals of Surgery (Impact Factor: 8.33). 04/2007; 245(3):495-501. DOI: 10.1097/01.sla.0000252406.94464.16
Source: PubMed


Despite documented cases of infectious disease transmission to medical staff via conjunctival contamination and widespread recommendation of protective eyewear use during surgical procedures, a large number of surgeons rely on their prescription spectacles as sole eye protection. Modern fashion spectacles, being of increasingly slim design, may no longer be adequate in this role.
A survey was conducted among the surgeons at Waikato Hospital from December 7, 2004 to February 1, 2005, to assess current operating theater eyewear practices and attitudes. Those who wore prescription spectacles were asked to assume a standardized "operating position" from which anatomic measurements were obtained. These data were mathematically analyzed to determine the degree of palebral fissure protection conferred by their spectacles.
Of 71 surgical practitioners surveyed, 45.1% required prescription lenses for operating, the mean spectacle age being 2.45 years; 84.5% had experienced prior periorbital blood splashes; 2.8% had previously contracted an illness attributed to such an event; 78.8% participants routinely used eye protection, but of the 27 requiring spectacles, 68.0% used these as their sole eye protection. Chief complaints about safety glasses and facial shields were of fogging, poor comfort, inability to wear spectacles underneath, and unavailability. Our model predicted that 100%, 92.6%, 77.8%, and 0% of our population were protected by their spectacles laterally, medially, inferiorly, and superiorly, respectively.
Prescription spectacles of contemporary styling do not provide adequate protection against conjunctival blood splash injuries. Our model predicts the design adequacy of currently available purpose-designed protective eyewear, which should be used routinely.

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