Keeping an eye on the worker
In industry, eye problems not only affect the worker concerned but also the company as a whole.
Protective eyewear is necessary in an industrial environment.
AN eye examination after 40 years of age is a must, more so for people who work in an industrial setting. Eye problems affect not only the individual but also industry as a whole in terms of loss of man-hours and affecting quality control, resulting in a loss of the credibility for the company. Thus an honest effort may be made by the company to help its employees and provide refractive aids (spectacles), surgery for cataract laser therapy for diabetes and glaucoma.
What is industrial eye screening?
Industrial eye screening not only includes an eye check up but also Information, Education and Communication (IEC).
The three components of an eye care programme include screening vision, determining vision requirement and choosing appropriate protective and corrective eye wear.
In industrial eye screening programmes, a comprehensive eye examination is undertaken to detect problems and suitable remedies are suggested. Eye diseases that are common in the industrial work force are cataract, glaucoma, diabetic (eye disease) retinopathy, and dry eye because of working before a computer for long hours.
It also includes review of patients with these specific problems.
Procedure for screening
The work force is divided into batches and the screening is done for a week or 10 days. An introductory lecture is given by the doctor with a slide show, with punch lines to make the talk more interesting and informative.
The doctor is assisted by paramedical staff to check visual acuity, power and colour vision to enable a faster screening process. The doctor does a comprehensive eye examination, which includes slit lamp examination, Applanation Tonometry (to check eye pressure), cover-uncover test (to check the presence of squint) and an undilated fundus examination. The doctor diagnoses presence of lid infections, dry eyes, cataract, glaucoma, squint and diabetic eye disease. The whole examination takes about five minutes.
In case the pupils are small or where there is a manifestation of cataract, a dilated pupil examination can be done. In case the patient needs surgery, he is referred to the base hospital. Topical eye medications are also prescribed for eye infections and dry eye.
The need for regular follow up in patients with glaucoma and diabetic eye disease is stressed. The patient is told of the importance of using topical eye medications for eye pressure without fail and the resulting loss it could cause to the visual field. Regarding diabetic eye disease, the importance of maintaining stable blood sugar levels and the parallels between diabetic eye disease and renal function is made known.
Occupational hazards to the eye include
Injury to the eye by active moving parts
Chemical injuries fumes/vapour liquids
Protective goggles are necessary in an industrial environment, and may be corrective or non-corrective. Corrective ones concern the refractive error of the patient.
The visual skills of the worker should always meet the visual requirements of his job. The need to wear protective goggles when using moving parts, is stressed. If there is a superficial foreign body inside the eye as a result of a glass/iron bit getting lodged in the eye, it needs to be removed as soon as possible. The need for immediate first aid in case of exposure to an alkali or acid or any other chemicals is made known to the work force. This includes flushing the eye with clean water for about 10-15 minutes and immediate referral to an eye specialist.
Brochures are provided in English and the local language that highlights common eye disease and the need to be aware of a regular annual eye check up.
Dr. S. SANJAY
Dr. MOHAN RAJAN
Dr. SUJATHA MOHAN
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