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Analysis reveals reduction in COVID-19 infections following introduction of mandatory eye protection

A systematic review has examined the effect of eye protection on viral transmission

face shield
Getty/alfexe

New research has explored the effect of eye protection on rates of COVID-19 among healthcare workers.

The study, which was published in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, examined available research on the topic, including five observational studies from four countries (the US, India, Colombia and the UK).

A total of 7567 healthcare workers were involved in the studies, wearing face shields, goggles, and wraparound eyewear.

The researchers found that while eye protection may play a role in preventing transmission of COVID-19 among healthcare workers, further robust comparative trials are needed.

“These studies provide suggestive evidence that face shields provide some protective effect, and that this may be substantial,” the researchers highlighted.

The scientists noted that the review could not determine how much of the protective effect is due to reduction of transmission through the eyes via the nasolacrimal duct to nose.

They noted that a face shield – the main form of eye protection used – may provide additional inhalation protection.

“While goggles also provide eye protection, face shields will likely give substantial protection against inhalation of droplets as well as eye protection and are more comfortable to wear,” the authors shared.

The scientists recommend considering the use of face shields in addition to masks for higher risk situations, such as contact tracing, those working in quarantine, and some primary care consultations.