Most of us would recall the caring advice from our parents and elders at home during our early schooling days on the need to adopt a proper reading and writing posture, a posture which would let the light both natural and from the electrical lighting at home to fall on our books to enable better visibility. It was common for elders to pull us up for reading in a dimly lit room, sitting against the focus of the light or in some case stooping over the books and letting our own shadows block the light. Our elders although not formally exposed to the nuances of optometry took a commonsense approach to optimal lighting in the work/study place; they realized that poor or wrong lighting would harm the eyes and quality of work and we received our first lessons in occupational optometry in the form of lighting and its impact from home grown wisdom. Today Occupational Optometry is a highly developed and advanced science and art which lays the principles of lighting, eye safety, vision and eye care suitable for a wide array of occupations. Adherence to the principles of occupational optometry at the workplace ensures the safety and good health of the eyes, better vision leading to greater accuracy and work perfection and ultimately to an increase in production. The Elite School of Optometry the teaching and training arm of Sankara Nethralaya pioneered the teaching of occupational optometry more than a decade ago. Professor Dr P.P.Santanam a renowned occupational health medicine specialist who served as the Principal of the institution and Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya were instrumental in according its due importance to occupational optometry right at the inception of the institute.
We take great pleasure in sharing an interesting article on this vital branch of optometry by Dr R.Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry
OCCUPATIONAL OPTOMETRY SERVICE
Good vision (eyesight) of the individual and adequate lighting on the task in the workplace is essential for optimal work performance of the personnel in any industry. It helps in reducing the accident rate and absenteeism and positively enhances the safety, health, morale and well being. In turn, it helps any industry to increase productivity, quality and success. Studies have shown that good lighting can be expected to increase productivity by about 8 % in metal industry. This can be undoubtedly improved further by taking care of the seeing abilities of the workforce through step by step approach of occupational optometry care (eye care).
In occupational optometry program, the optometrist is primarily concerned with stimulating and coordinating the efforts of management to ensure the effective and productive utilization of vision of the employees and its conservation through the following:
Visual task Analysis of different jobs in work area: Visual task analysis aims at acquiring the information on visual demand each job creates on the individual worker at the job. Optometrist will visit each work station and collect the following details: job description, lighting, working distance, size of the task, work area, position of the worker on the job, need for eye/head movement, need for extent of field of vision, need for color vision, need for depth perception, need for special accuracy of the job, need for personal protective equipments, hazardous materials/ chemicals and its impact on the eye and vision. In addition, individual job competency will be sought from the work station supervisor.
Determination of the Visual capability and defects of employees: Based on the visual task analysis of different jobs in work area, battery of tests will be planned and the visual capability and ocular status of the each employee will be documented. For example, the stereopsis will be the part of the examination if binocular function is found to be needed for the job. Color vision testing will be done if the job demands color vision function. In addition, each employee will be asked for his/her ocular symptoms, general health status and any previous ocular history (e.g. injury and exposure to physical, electromagnetic radiation and chemical hazards). Also, stress will be laid on the availability of personal protective equipments and its usage.
Management and Referral: At the end of the examination, glasses and personal protective equipment will be prescribed along with the proper usage and maintenance. Proper advice will be given to the employees on contact lens usage. For other conditions namely, binocular vision anomalies, ocular conditions (cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy etc.) proper referral will be done. However, for conditions like dry eye, if the occupation/environment is found to be the inducing factor proper advice will be given.
Indoctrination and Education of employees: Awareness campaign among the workers and the family members will be done through various methods especially on how to safeguard ones eyesight in working environment. Also on general awareness about various systemic diseases related to eye. Importance of regular eye check up and personal protective equipments and their benefit both to the individual and to the organization will also constitute the education of the employees and the employer.
Report to the Employer: A report will be submitted to the employer along with the recommendations on spectacles, safety eye wear, lighting and other environmental related issues as observed by the optometrist.
Follow –up: This will be done after a period of six months to one year from the time of the report submitted to the employer. The aim of this visit is to see the impact of the service provided by the optometrists. It constitutes the visit to the work area, interaction with the supervisors, employees and the employer.
Also optometrists can contribute to the pre placement and periodical medical examinations of employees and give input in case of compensation evaluation.
Our Previous Experiences with Industries:
We offered our Occupational Optometry Services to the following industries:
01) Goldsmith / Jewellery making industry (organized and unorganized sector)
02) IT industry
03) Watch makers (unorganized sector)
04) Iron and steel manufacturing industry
05) Furniture manufacturing company
06) Sand Benefication plant.
07) Electronic industry
08) Lathe works
09) Agro pulp machinery small scale industry.
11) Petrochemical Industry
If you want to avail the above services for your employees, please contact the following person:
Dr R Krishna Kumar, Optometrist, Occupational Optometry Services
Ms.R Monica, Optometrist, Occupational Optometry Services
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Landline Number:044 2234 6023