Optometry Australia (OA) has updated its 2016 infection control guidelines for optometrists to improve staff and patient safety, particularly during the current pandemic.
The guidelines’ authors, including Professor Fiona Stapleton, University of New South Wales Sydney, said, “Optometrists have taken their infection control processes to a more rigorous level during the Covid-19 pandemic. This presents an opportunity to create a ‘new normal’ where the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is standard, slit lamp breath shields are a permanent fixture, reprocessing of reusable equipment is in line with current recommendations, and environmental cleaning is part of the daily routine.”
Information from peer-reviewed journal articles, guidelines from professional societies, government health departments and instructions from equipment manufacturers informed the review, intended as an update on current infection control best practice.
The new guidelines are split into two sections, with the standard precautions section covering: hand hygiene, PPE, safe handling and disposal of sharps, routine environmental cleaning, reprocessing of reusable equipment, instruments and contact lenses, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, aseptic and clean technique, and waste management. The transmission-based precautions section covers considerations for optometry staff and/or patients when standard precautions might not be sufficient to prevent the spread of an infectious agent.
The review was published by Clinical and Experimental Optometry.