Neonatal Eye Shielding during Phototherapy: What Protects the Eye Better?

Isa Abdulkadir, Tina M. Slusher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Phototherapy remains an important component of the management of unconjugated neonatal jaundice, a major cause of newborn morbidity. During phototherapy the toxic unconjugated form of bilirubin is converted to nontoxic form through action of light delivered by phototherapy. An important possible complication of phototherapy is retinal damage and therefore eye protective measures are taken during therapy to prevent this from occurring. Devices currently in use for phototherapy are capable of providing intensive phototherapy with the attendant increased risk of eye injury. The materials used in providing eye protection are varied among care providers. A dearth of information exists on shielding provided by the commonly used eye protectors during phototherapy, more so during intensive phototherapy. Objective: To evaluate the shielding provided by the different eye protectors commonly used in our setting under intensive phototherapy. Materials and method: Five materials in use for eye shielding were obtained. Using an institutional built light emitting diode phototherapy device, intensive phototherapy was provided and the irradiance at varying distances of 35 cm, 25 cm, 15 cm and 10 cm was measured using an Olympic bili meterTM Natus. At the distance of each measured irradiance the different eye protective materials were then placed one after the other over the surface of the measuring sensor of the meter and the irradiance measurement was recorded. Two measurements were taken for each material at each distance and the average irradiance measurement was then recorded for each of the materials tested at that distance. Results: Five eye shielding materials in use were identified: Black cotton fabric, white cotton fabric, black cotton fabric with foam, white cotton fabric with foam and gauze. The black cotton fabric with or without foam at the phototherapy device irradiances of 30, 46.3, 58.7 and 75.4 μw/m2/nm recorded 0 irradiance. Conclusion: Black cotton fabric with or without foam pad provided the most shielding under intensive phototherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfmab101
JournalJournal of tropical pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) [2021]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


  • Eye
  • Jaundice
  • Phototherapy
  • Protection
  • Shielding

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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