traumas or infections, which occurred during a variety of procedures. The saddest part of these statistics is that 75% of these
injuries resulted from a lack of eye protection.
It does not end there! Less than 50% of the assistants and hygienists surveyed used eye protection routinely. Many admitted
that they do not wear eye protection while cleaning contaminated instruments. Hygienists did, however, wear eye protection for
96% of their patient work.
either, unfortunately. Dentists should be handing out approved
eye protection to every patient for every procedure. If they do not
provide [eyewear] or have [eyewear], you must wear something
— even your sunglasses are better then nothing!”
As part of her mission, Jenn is also reaching out to dentists
and hygienists. “Please!” she asks. “Don’t ever let this happen to
anyone again. Make sure all your patients wear ANSI-approved
eye protection for any procedure.”
Jenn’s positive outlook is admirable. In her efforts to raise
awareness, she has developed a Facebook hashtag movement
(#JennsVisionSunglassSelfie), a Facebook page (www.Facebook.
com/JennsVision), and a YouTube video ( www.youtube.com/
TAKING CARE OF PATIENTS: A CALL TO ACTION
This is a call to action that I hope you will share with your fellow
colleagues, as well as all of your patients. Just like clinicians, all
patients must wear eye protection in the dental setting to ensure
When patients sit in the chair, they can be exposed to so many
things that could injure the head, neck, and eyes. Even a handpiece could cause irreversible damage. With a rotation speed of
180,000 to 500,000 times per minute, handpieces could project
particles at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Chemicals, pieces
of old filling materials, prophy paste containing silica, or even a
broken bur could fly into a patient’s eye.
As dental professionals, we must adhere to the protocols
we have learned, such as recapping a needle before passing it
and never passing instruments over a patient’s face. These best
practices were designed to keep patients and clinicians out of
TAKING CARE OF YOU: A CALL TO ACTION
In a study looking at dental professionals’ compliance with eye
protection, 87% of dentists wore protection routinely. Their
choice was not always within the standards, and many only wore
them for specific procedures.
A staggering 47% of those surveyed had experienced ocular
Empower your patients
One of the greatest things we can do in infection control and prevention is empower our patients to be their own advocates. Treating
them as though they are part of the dental team will keep them safe at referral appointments, and it’s a great way to help the team
remember protocols. Focus on the following:
1. Educate your patients on why you are giving them eye protection. Empower them to be able to ask for it if anyone ever forgets to
2. Educate your patients about why it is vital in fourhanded dentistry never to pass items over a patient’s face. Have them remind
anyone who is not following this protocol how important it is.
3. Educate your patients on recapping needles, and empower them to remind staff if the protocol is not followed.