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Dec 2011

Endophthalmitis After Intravitreal Injections: Should the Use of Face Masks Be the Standard of Care?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida (Drs Schimel and Flynn); and Departments of Ophthalmology and Public Health Sciences, Penn State Hershey Eye Center, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania (Dr Scott).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(12):1607-1609. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.370

Although face masks are worn routinely for most procedures in the operating room, they have not been generally used in preparation for, and administration of, intravitreal injections in the outpatient clinic. Face masks were originally developed when Flügge, researching tuberculosis, developed the droplet theory of infection.1 In 1897, Mikulicz, a professor of surgery in Breslau, Germany, was the first to mention the use of a face mask to contain and filter droplets expelled from the mouth of health care workers during surgery.2 A year later, his assistant, Hübener, demonstrated that wearing a face mask reduced the spread of droplets from the mouth of a test subject.3 Since that time, the use of face masks has become a consistent standard of care in operating rooms during sterile procedures. In the operating room setting, the patient's nasopharyngeal area is also covered by an adhesive drape to isolate the eye and periocular region.

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