SurgiTel Solutions: Protective Face Shields and Visual Clarity

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ErgoPractice News – July 2020

PPE for Clinicians and Patients and Visual Clarity

Clinicians may see a large number of patients and should be protected. Patients expect to see protection on clinicians and the face shield shows patients they are protected. But if PPE is the new normal, it cannot be allowed to reduce the effectiveness of your work – your vision must remain clear.

The last May issue of ErgoPractice News reviewed SurgiTel’s implementation of PPE (personal protection equipment) with loupes and headlights (view at www.SurgiTel.com/News). This month we will review what type of face shields provide great protection while also providing the visual clarity clinicians need to do their work well.

Thick Reusable Face Shields and Visors versus Thin Disposable Face Shields

Thick reusable face shields are good for protection from high-speed particles or debris, but they can create more image distortion. As these types of face shields are cleaned repeatedly, surfaces become damaged, scattering light passing through the shield, reducing image contrast.

For dental and medical applications, thin disposable face shields are recommended. Imaging tests with SurgiTel’s disposable face shields show that thin face shields do not create noticeable image distortion or reduction of image contrast. SurgiTel’s face shields are latex-free, fiberglass free, distortion-free, and optically clear. SurgiTel’s face shield does not need to be replaced every day, but the reduced cost per unit allows you to swap your face shield when visual clarity is reduced without worrying about expenditure.

Fogging and Damaged Surfaces

SurgiTel’s face shields have an anti-fog coating, but anti-fog coating can be saturated if used for a long time. Also cleaning and disinfecting face shields multiple times can damage the anti-fog coating. To create more space between the face and shield, which alleviates the image contrast problem due to fogging, SurgiTel’s face shield design has a foam extender for the headband (Figure 2). This places the shield farther away from the face which allows not only for increased ventilation but also additional space for loupes and headlights.

Custom Through-Holes for Loupes

Incoming lights from targets can be significantly reduced by the front and back surfaces of the shield. If parts of the shield in front of loupes are cut out, there will be no loss of incoming lights and thus images will be brighter. SurgiTel offers custom through-holes for loupes, particularly high-power loupes (Figure 3). These holes also can increase ventilation.

The brightness of Headlight and Headlight Position

If headlights are used under face shields, the brightness of headlights will be significantly reduced due to the reflection loss by the front and back surfaces of the shields. There are two options available to avoid this effect. The first is to create a hole on face shields for the headlight (Figure 4a) and the other method is to mount the headlight to headbands using an adaptor (Figure 4b). Both options are featured on SurgiTel’s design and the user may choose which works best for them.

Face shields not only protect you but give your patients peace of mind. But visual clarity issues should not negatively impact your work. With SurgiTel’s custom-designed face shield, you can have the best of both worlds.

Contact SurgiTel Customer Service at support@surgitel.com to order face shield packs.

Questions and Answers

Question #1: What material is used for SurgiTel’s face shields?
Answer: SurgiTel face shields are made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate, a form of polyester just like the clothing fabric). Like glass, PET is hygienic, strong, and optically clear. But unlike glass PET is extremely lightweight.

Question #2: Why does SurgiTel recommend disposable face shields?
Answer: Thinner face shields will create less image distortion and can transmit more light. SurgiTel’s disposable face shields will not create noticeable image distortion. Thin face shields are also very light and comfortable to wear. And since disposable face shields come in low-cost packs, they can be disposed of and replaced quickly when damaged or when visual clarity becomes reduced from wear.

Question #3: What are the unique features of SurgiTel’s disposable face shields?
Answer: There are two headband foam options (single headband foam for small, low power loupes, and double headband foam for larger, high power prism loupes. There is also a removable hole option for headlights. SurgiTel offers two custom holes on face shields for loupes as an option for the best image quality.

Question #4: How do I clean face shields?
Answer: To clean face shields, wash it gently using warm water and a few drops of a mild dishwashing liquid. Then allow tap water to run over it as a means of rinsing it clean. Use a soft cloth to dry it after rinsing. Avoid using other products aside from mild soap or dishwashing liquid, warm water, and a cotton washcloth. The shield should also be cleaned under plenty of running water as a means of preventing the formation of scratches as long as possible.

Question #5: How to keep face shields from fogging?
Answer: SurgiTel’s face shields have anti-fog coating but as face shields are used and cleaned; anti-fog coatings may wear. If you are looking for an inexpensive solution to prevent your face shield from fogging, then increasing ventilation can help. Holes on face shields for loupes and headlights may increase ventilation. Another effective tip is to apply anti-fogging cleaners and treatments when cleaning your face shield.

 


Summary:
  • SurgiTel’s thin-film face shields (Figure 1) provide excellent protection for clinicians and patients while retaining the visual clarity clinicians need to do their work well. Vision through a face shield depends on the optical quality of the face shield. Thick reusable face shields can distort images and thus thin-film face shields are recommended to minimize image distortion.
  • The placement of headlights through or outside of the shield eliminates the light reflection loss and allows the user to adjust beam direction easily (Figure 2)
  • SurgiTel’s customized face shields can be ordered with through-holes for loupes (Figure 3)