PPE guide

This page sets out what personal protective equipment (PPE) you need when conducting urgent eye care including guidance on facemasks, and the order in which to put on and take off PPE

Man wearing protective face mask

What PPE do I need?

  • Facemask
  • Apron
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection

Additional considerations

What type of facemask do I need? 

A surgical mask with fluid resistance. These are labelled Type IIR and conform to BS EN 14683:2019 or equivalent. 

Why not a type I or standard type II?

Neither of these masks contains a fluid resistant layer, this is the important part. It must be a Type IIR. 

Can I use a FFP2 or FFP3 respirator?

Both of these will provide sufficient protection and are a higher grade of protection than surgical masks, however there are a couple of considerations. 

  1. Respirators are in short supply and should be prioritised for those who need them most. i.e. those treating patients with confirmed COVID-19. 
  2. Respirators require a fit test to ensure they perform as intended, their usage without a fit test may give a false sense of security.

Do I need a new facemask for every patient?

No. Facemasks and goggles (if worn) can be used for the entire session as long as they aren’t removed. Aprons and gloves are single use and must be disposed of after each patient.

Visual guide to safe PPE

In what order should I put on, or take off PPE?

 Putting on PPE in the correct order Taking off PPE in the correct order
1.   Hand hygiene 1.  Gloves
 2.  Apron 2.  Hand hygiene
 3.  Face mask 3.  Apron
 4.  Eye protection 4.  Eye protection
 5.  Gloves 5.  Hand hygiene
  6.  Face mask
  7.  Hand hygiene

Before seeing any patient face to face, consider if you can help them in another way. This flow chart may help you to consider other options to aid the patient remotely.


For further information, see our video Public Health England gives guidance on personal protective equipment for optometrists