Eyespace Eyewear launch PPE range
The range of full face shields, safety glasses and protective goggles all comply with government regulations
Eyespace Eyewear has launched a range of facial personal protective equipment (PPE), aiming to support optometrists as they begin preparing for re-opening in the future.
The PPE collection is available for pre-order, with supplies estimated to be available from 1 June, and includes full face shields, safety glasses and protective goggles (indirectly vented as per government guidelines).
“As the scale of the crisis unfolded and opticians were forced to close, we felt totally helpless, only being able to service emergency dispensing or occasional orders for replacement parts,” explained Jayne Abel, managing director and co-founder of Eyespace.
The company had been donating the PPE it could source to local care homes, doctors and pharmacists, Ms Abel said, adding: “The vast scale of need within the public domain quickly became very apparent.”
With current eyewear orders temporarily suspended, Eyespace has instead focused on sourcing PPE products that conform to government standards and from audited factories which are ISO-900 certified and FDA-registered and provide test reports on items.
Ms Abel explained: “Sadly, there has been an abundance of non-certified PPE out there, but our due-diligence has been extremely thorough to ensure friends and colleagues across the optical community can return to work fully prepared and suitably protected.”
The products conform to standards CE EN:166 and ANSI.Z87 and are supplied through ISO 9001, FDA-registered and EU 2016/42 audited factories.
Demand for PPE supplies is extremely high, and will “undoubtedly” remain high, Ms Abel suggests, as employers begin to bring staff back to the workplace. While the orders Eyespace has received have been driven from within the optical profession, the company has been able to help supply NHS trusts, local councils and care homes looking for certified PPE eye protection.
For the foreseeable future we will all be armed with eye protection in the form of shields, safety glasses or goggles, will learn to ‘smile with our eyes’ from behind masks and will be protecting ourselves and others with gloves, aprons and sanitiser
“Perhaps surprisingly, goggles have proven the hardest items of eye protection to get hold of nationally, with supplies into the country fluctuating quite dramatically at different points over the last nine weeks,” Ms Abel said.
She added: “There will certainly be an increase in demand for full-face shields as retail, the hospitality sector, wholesalers and large corporations look to return their workers over the coming months.”
Commenting on how the company has balanced the costs of supply with the costs for optometrists, Ms Abel said: “We are acutely aware of how essential and needed these items of eye protection are for individuals as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis and this is not necessarily the time to be thinking about profits; rather it’s the time for us to offer help and support where we can, so the safety and well-being of practitioners, patients and the wider general public can be assured over the coming months, possibly even longer.”
“Sourcing PPE that is fully compliant with government recommendations and is competitively priced hasn’t actually been our hardest challenge, for us that has been balancing costs for transportation and physically getting goods expedited to the UK in such a short time-frame,” Ms Abel explained, adding that where there have been immediate needs for PPE “we have had to pay inflated courier charges to air-freight shipments in.”
Looking ahead, Ms Abel suggests costs for PPE could reduce over the summer months as manufacturing adjusts to the “ongoing and increased demand” and as more cost-effective sea-freight shipments begin to arrive in the UK.
“For the ongoing safety of practitioners and patients, we can only see that PPE is going to be an absolute necessity when returning to practice,” Ms Abel commented.
With routine testing resumed in the Republic of Ireland, and the easing of restrictions in the UK, Ms Abel suggested the industry “is feeling understandably tentative about the necessary steps that need to be taken.”
Calling the introduction of protective measures to the practice environment “vital,” Ms Abel suggested these steps will provide a level of confidence for optometrists and customers “at a time when we all so feel vulnerable and at risk: for the foreseeable future we will all be armed with eye protection in the form of shields, safety glasses or goggles, will learn to ‘smile with our eyes’ from behind masks and will be protecting ourselves and others with gloves, aprons and sanitiser.”
She concluded: “As employers we should be preparing ourselves to be judged by the physical reassurances we are offering employees and customers, as these responsible precautions will serve to demonstrate that as a profession and as individuals we are taking the virus seriously and have the desire to build new levels of trust within our relationships.”