Common workplace eye injuries

workplace-injuriesOur first post in our series to mark the Workplace Eye Wellness Awareness Month of March we delve into the world of work-related eye injuries.

So what if I told you that tens of people suffer vision loss or injure their eye by preventable accidents at the workplace? Eye injuries alone are a huge loss in production time and medical compensation and in some cases, sight.

No one is immune to eye problems and injuries no matter the field of work you are in. Eye problems at work range from eye strain or computer vision syndrome to dry eye syndrome to trauma to a slip, trip or fall caused by a wet floor.

Those who don’t have the typical office desk are exposed to even more risks. Think of the lab technicians who work with chemicals or people at the construction sites or mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, grinding machine operators. Think about health care workers, laboratory and janitorial staff.  What do all these hardworking citizens have in common?

So what are some of the key causes of eye injuries at the work place are:

  • Bright lights: Welders produce an intense amount of light that can be harmful to the eye. The use of welders without the correct safety equipment at the work place has the potential to cause temporary or permanent eye damage.
  • Chemicals: Chemicals are used in many factory based jobs. If they come into contact with the face through splashes or spillages, they can cause burns which in turn can harm the eye. Training and having safety equipment is very crucial to avoid sustaining an eye injury at work.
  • Electric shocks: We use electrical products on a daily basis, but an electric shock has the potential to cause eyesight damage. This can occur through the shock itself or the exposure to a sudden bright flash of light.
  • Grit and other particles: Our eyelashes and protective socket are designed to protect the eye from damage. However, frequent exposure to grit at work, particularly through the use of manufacturing machinery, has the potential to cause eye injury, especially if protective equipment such as goggles is not provided. Other forms of exposure can occur through grinding or hammering, where splinters or slivers of material such as metal are ejected at high velocity from the machine towards operators or nearby employees.
  • Head trauma: An impact to the face or head can cause a direct injury to the eye, but a blow or impact to the head in the workplace or any form of head trauma can lead to internal and external eye injuries, which have the potential to cause a loss of sight or even blindness.
  • Sharp or flying objects: We come into contact with sharp objects on a daily basis. If these objects are used in the wrong way or carelessly placed, they have the real risk of causing serious harm to a person’s eyesight.
To prevent or reduce eye injuries at the work place:
  • Know the eye safety dangers at work and complete an eye hazard assessment
  • Eliminate hazards before starting work
  • Use proper eye protection
  • Have your eyes examined once a year to evaluate any unforeseen eye injuries or conditions
  • Wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear
  • Ensure eye safety measures are available depending on the hazard in your work place, including non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, goggles, face shields , welding helmets and full-face respirators

Do you have a query related to an eye injury at work or any other eye-related query? Please feel free to contact us via info@cityeyehospital.or.ke

If you have an eye condition or are in need of a routine eye exam, talk to us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya. 

What is low vision?

low-vision-aids
Low vision aids

Did you know that FEBRUARY is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness month? In our previous post, we touched on what you need to know the world of AMD. In this post, we touch on all you need to know about Low Vision.

Low Vision is a condition where one has permanently-reduced vision that cannot be corrected or improved through standard refraction and ophthalmic and medical intervention, including regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery and where one’s ability to do normal tasks like reading is limited, though this varies from person to person.

Persons with Low Vision suffer visual impairment and their vision is less than 6/18 with a constricted visual field of less than 10 degrees from a point of fixation in the better eye. However, one has functional vision which can be utilised through use of Low Vision aids, environmental modification/adaptation and rehabilitation.

To Note:

(1) It is important to recognize the anger and frustration that you may feel after knowing you cannot regain your lost vision. It is advisable to get professional consultation with guidance and counselling from a Low Vision professional, such as a Low Vision therapist or rehabilitation officer.

(2) Having “Low Vision” is not the same as being “blind.” For example, your doctor may tell you that you have a blind or blank spot in the center of your vision that limits your ability to read or see people’s faces. Nevertheless, you can still get around using your side (or peripheral) vision.

Types of Low Vision
  • Loss of Central Vision: Persons with this type of Low Vision have a blur or blind spot, but a person’s side (peripheral) vision remains. This makes it difficult to read, recognise faces and distinguish most details in the distance. With side vision intact, however, mobility is usually unaffected.
  • Loss of Peripheral (Side) Vision:Persons who lose their peripheral vision cannot distinguish anything in one side or both sides of the eye or anything directly above and/or below eye level. Central vision remains intact, though, making it possible to see directly ahead. Typically, loss of peripheral vision affects mobility. If it is severe, it can slow reading speed because the person can only see a few words at a time.
  • Blurred Vision:With blurred vision, both near and far vision is out of focus, even with the best possible correction with eyeglasses.
  • Generalized Haze: People with generalised haze have the sensation of a film or glare that may extend over the entire viewing field.
  • Extreme Light Sensitivity: Extreme light sensitivity occurs when standard levels of light overwhelm a person’s visual system, producing a washed-out image and/or a glare. People with extreme light sensitivity may suffer pain or discomfort from relatively normal levels of light.
  • Night Blindness: People with night blindness cannot see outside at night under starlight or moonlight or in dimly lighted interior areas, such as movie theaters or restaurants.
Causes of Low Vision

Though Low Vision can occur at any age, normal aging of the eye does not lead to Low Vision. Certain conditions/occurrences have been known to cause Low Vision, such as:

Low Vision Aids

Losing vision does not mean giving up on your activities, but it does mean applying new ways of doing them. There are many Low Vision aids and devices to help you with your daily activities. Talk with your ophthalmologist/Low Vision therapist about solutions for your specific needs.

Below we outline good examples of Low Vision aids that can be of help to persons with Low Vision.

Optical Low Vision aids

These use magnifying lenses to make objects look larger and easier to see. Examples include:

  1. Magnifying spectacles: These are the magnifiers that are worn like eyeglasses to keep your hands free. They can be used for reading, threading a needle or doing other close-up tasks.
  2. Stand magnifiers: These magnifiers rest above the object you are looking at. This helps to keep the lens at a proper distance. That they are mounted on a stand is also quite helpful to people who have tremor or arthritis. Some stand magnifiers have built-in lights.
  3. Hand magnifiers: There are magnifiers designed to help with different amounts of vision.
  4. Video magnifiers: These electronic devices make printed pages, pictures or other small objects look bigger. You often can adjust them to meet your special vision needs. For instance, with some magnifiers you can add contrast to make printed words darker.
Non-optical Low Vision devices

These are designed to help with everyday tasks. Examples include:

  1. Audio books and electronic books: With audio books, you can listen to text that is read aloud while electronic books increase word size and contrast of texts.
  2. Smart phones and tablets: Theselet you change word size, adjust lighting and use voice commands. There also are many apps to choose from, such as programs that read material aloud, magnify or illuminate.
  3. Computers: There are computersthat can read aloud or magnify what is on the screen.
  4. Talking items:Watches, timers, blood pressure cuffs, and blood sugar machines are some of the talking items that can be of aid to persons with Low Vision.
  5. Large-print:Books, newspapers, magazines, playing cards and bank cheques with big-sized fonts.
  6. Telephones, thermostats, watches and remote controls:Large-sized numbers and high contrast colours on these devices are useful to persons with Low Vision.

Remember, you should have an eye exam regularly, at the very least once a year. Take advantage of this month being an AMD and Low Vision awareness month to have your eye exam.

Do you have any queries regarding Low Vision or any other query relating to eye health? Please place your query on the comment section below or contact us via: info@cityeyehospital.or.ke.

If you need medical attention, contact us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

vision-testAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a cause of visual impairment in the elderly. It is more common in light-skinned populations than in Africans.

The eye ailment affects the part of the eye called the macula, which is the central part of the retina where light is focused by the cornea and lens. It is needed for fine visual tasks such as reading, writing, threading a needle, etc.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD:

  1. Dry macular degeneration
  2. Wet macular degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration 

This is the most common type. It develops very slowly and causes gradual reduction in central vision. It may take a long time before it goes to the final stage. Dry AMD does not affect side vision hence it does not lead to total blindness. About 15% of dry AMD develops to the wet form of AMD.

To note: Dry Macular Degeneration has no treatment.

Wet Macular Degeneration

In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These leak blood and fluid, leading to macula swelling and a rapid drop in vision.

Causes of AMD

Exactly what triggers the processes that lead to AMD is unclear, but a number of things are known to increase the risk factors of developing it, namely:

  1. Age. The older a person gets, the more likely they are to develop at least some degree of AMD.
  2. Family history. Cases of AMD have been known to run in families. If your parents or siblings develop AMD, it is thought that your risk of getting it is increased.
  3. Smoking. This is a significant risk factor for AMD. In general, people who smoke are up to four times more likely to develop AMD than those who have never smoked.
  4. Gender. Women are more likely to develop AMD than men, but this could simply be because women tend to live longer than men.
  5. Ethnicity. Studies have found that rates of AMD are highest in white and Chinese people, and lower in black people.
  6. Other associated conditions. A number of other factors that may increase your risk of developing AMD have also been identified, but a link with the condition has not yet been proven. These include alcohol consumption, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Symptoms
  1. Straight lines start to appear distorted, or the centre of vision becomes distorted
  2. Dark, blurry areas or whiteout appears in the centre of vision
  3. Diminished or changed colour perception
  4. Deterioration in reading vision
Prevention
  • Having routine eye exams by an ophthalmologist helps prevent vision loss due to AMD.
Treatment

Drugs such as Lucentis, Avastin and Eylea are injected in the eye to stop the growth of the abnormal blood vessels. One usually requires monthly injections. The condition can recur, which requires additional injections. Sometimes it heals with scarring, leading to permanent visual loss.

Benefits of treatment
  1. Improves vision
  2. Prevents retinal detachment
FAQs
  • Is AMD hereditary? No, it is not.
  • Is AMD preventable? There is nothing one can do to prevent AMD.

Do you have any queries regarding AMD or any other query relating to eye health? Please place your query on the comment section below or contact us via: info@cityeyehospital.or.ke.

If you need medical attention, contact us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya.

Diabetes and your vision

Did you know that on November 14 every year the world marks World Diabetes day?

Did you also know that persons with diabetes are likely to develop diabetic eye disease?

Below, we touch on nine facts you need to know about diabetic eye disease.

  1. Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma.
  2. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness.
  3. Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision.
  4. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults.
  5. DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula.
  6. Controlling diabetes—by taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet—can prevent or delay vision loss.
  7. Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
  8. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss.
  9. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination.

Mark World Diabetes Day

If you haven’t had your annual eye checkup yet, then take this opportunity to mark the World Diabetes Day by getting that eye checkup during the month of November.

Need a comprehensive eye exam?

We at City Eye Hospital are dedicated to providing comprehensive eye care services that prevent as well as ensure early detection and treatment of eye problems caused by diabetes.

We’re located along Ngong Road, opp. Traffic Police, Nairobi, Kenya. Visit us any day from Monday to Friday.

You can also talk to us on: +254 (0)707-777-707