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Eur J Ophthalmol ; 32(4): 2445-2451, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354692

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the patterns of patient generated aerosol in the context of ophthalmic surgery and ophthalmic examinations. To inform medical teams regarding potential hazards and suggest mitigating measures. METHODS: Qualitatively, real-time time videography assessed exhalation patterns from simulated patients under different clinical scenarios using propylene glycol from an e-cigarette. Quantitatively, high-speed Schlieren imaging was performed to enable high resolution recordings analysable by MATLAB technical computing software. RESULTS: Without a face mask, the standard prior to COVID 19, vapour was observed exiting through the opening in the drape over the surgical field. The amount of vapour increased when a surgical mask was worn. With a taped face mask, the amount of vapour decreased and with inclusion of a continuous suction device, the least amount of vapour was seen. These results were equivocal when the patient was supine or sitting upright. High-speed Schlieren imaging corroborated these findings and in addition showed substantial increase in airflow egress during coughing and with ill-fitting face masks. CONCLUSION: Advising patients to wear a surgical mask at the time of ophthalmic interventions potentially contaminants the ocular field with patient generated aerosol risking endophthalmitis. Surgeon safety can be maintained with personal protective equipment to mitigate the increased egress of vapour from the surgical drape and taping, with or without suction is advisable, whilst meticulous hygiene around lenses is required at the time of slit lamp examination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems , Endophthalmitis , Aerosols , COVID-19/prevention & control , Endophthalmitis/surgery , Humans , Personal Protective Equipment
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