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BEAVRS update

July 2020

In view of emerging evidence, the board is recommending an update regarding pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) as an aerosol generating procedure (AGP).

Independent investigators are demonstrating that small gauge pars plana vitrectomy does not produce visible particles. Further evidence is emerging that PPV is unlikely to generate measurable particles of <10mcm. Modern pars plana vitrectomy is therefore unlikely to be an AGP.

However, in view of the longer operating time, in which the surgeon and patient are in close proximity to each other’s naso-pharnynx, we suggest that PPV is likely to carry the same level of infection risk as an AGP. Where possible, we therefore recommend to continue use of PPE as per guidelines for AGP.

As with phacoemulsification, surgeons should modify their technique to minimise the risk of producing an aerosol.

Vitreoretinal surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic