Background Eye protection is a mandatory component of the personal protective equipment in healthcare settings, especially for suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and during aerosolising procedures. Fogging of protective eyewear is a frequent problem experienced by providers. The hydrophilic property of a sulfonated polymer, BiaXam, may be able to decrease fogging through wicking moisture from the lens. In this study, we tested the anti-fogging properties of this polymer when applied to protective eyewear. Methods An investigator-initiated prospective, randomised, single-blinded cross-over study was conducted in an emergency department in a large, tertiary care hospital. Participants were blinded and randomised first to either a pair of anti-fog coated or uncoated eyewear, and then to the alternative pair after 2 hours. Study participants completed an identical survey at the end of each 2-hour period. Results 50 emergency medicine healthcare providers were enrolled and 48 completed the study. Results demonstrated a significant difference in fogging between the coated and uncoated eyewear, as 81% of the participants reported fogging of the uncoated lenses and only 55% of the participants reported fogging in the coated pair (p=0.0029). Participants reported that the uncoated lenses fogged two times as frequently on a 10-point Likert scale (4.5±3.3 vs 2.1±2.5; p<0.0001). Subgroup analysis of participants who wore only a surgical mask demonstrated even more efficacious results with coated eyewear. Conclusion Overall, sulfonated polymer-coated eyewear improved provider visualisation, user experience and perceived mitigation of potential medical errors.
Keschner, Y. G., Raja, A. S., Margolin, J. D., Zheng, H., & Olson, K. R. (2023). Effectiveness of an anti-fog polymer coating in protective eyewear: a blinded, randomised controlled cross-over trial with healthcare providers in an emergency department setting. BMJ Innovations, 9(3), 144–149. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjinnov-2022-000962