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Br Dent J. 2006 Feb 25;200(4):218-23; discussion 208.

Eye safety in operative dentistry - a study in general dental practice.

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Department of Adult Dental Health, Dental School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF14 4XY.



In this safety conscious age all general dental practitioners should be promoting the use of eye protection. The aim of this study was to highlight the uptake of eye protection by all clinical staff and patients within the general dental practice setting, with regard to adequate protection and its use at appropriate times.


Questionnaires were sent to 200 GDPs, chosen at random, to accumulate information on the use of protection, the preferred methods of eye protection and any experience of ocular injury.


Eighty-seven per cent of GDPs wore eye protection routinely, but their choice of protection was not always adequate and not worn for all procedures. Forty-eight per cent of GDPs had experience of ocular trauma or infection which occurred during a variety of procedures; 75% of these injuries resulted from not wearing eye protection. In contrast less than half of the DNs and Hygienists use protection routinely, particularly when cleaning contaminated instruments. However, hygienists did wear eye protection for the majority of their patient work (96%).


Eye protection use by all staff and patients is currently suboptimal to conform to published guidelines. Risks encountered within the dental environment do cause harm to the unprotected eye, which can be reduced or even eliminated by improving the uptake of suitable eye protection; several choices for eye protection are available. Each individual dentist is responsible for the uptake of eye protection for all persons in their surgery environment.

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