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Work-Related Eye Injuries and Illnesses - Article
ABSTRACT: More than 65,000 work-related eye injuries and illnesses, causing significant morbidity and disability, are reported in the United States annually. A well-equipped eye tray includes fluorescein dye, materials for irrigation and foreign body removal, a short-acting mydriatic agent, and topical anesthetics and antibiotics. The tray should be prepared in advance in case of an eye injury. Eye patching does not improve cornea reepithelialization or discomfort from corneal abrasions. Blunt trauma to the eye from a heavy object can cause a blow-out fracture. Sudden eye pain after working with a chisel, hammer, grinding wheel, or saw suggests a penetrating globe injury. Chemical eye burns require immediate copious irrigation. Nontraumatic causes of ocular illness are underreported; work-related allergic conjunctivitis increasingly has been recognized among food handlers and agriculture workers who are exposed to common spices, fruits, and vegetables. The patient's history of eye injury guides the diagnosis. Primary prevention and patient counseling on proper eye protection is essential because over 90 percent of injuries can be avoided with the use of eye protection. As laser use increases in industry and medical settings, adequate personal protection is needed to prevent cataracts. Outdoor workers exposed to significant ultraviolet rays need sun protection and safety counseling to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Contact lenses do not provide eye protection, and physicians should be familiar with guidelines for the use of contacts in the workplace.
ABSTRACT: Red eye is the cardinal sign of ocular inflammation. The condition is usually benign and can be managed by primary care physicians. Conjunctivitis is the most common cause of red eye. Other common causes include blepharitis, corneal abrasion, foreign body, subconjunctival hemorrhage, keratitis, iritis, glaucoma, chemical burn, and scleritis. Signs and symptoms of red eye include eye discharge, redness, pain, photophobia, itching, and visual changes. Generally, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are self-limiting conditions, and serious complications are rare. Because there is no specific diagnostic test to differentiate viral from bacterial conjunctivitis, most cases are treated using broad-spectrum antibiotics. Allergies or irritants also may cause conjunctivitis. The cause of red eye can be diagnosed through a detailed patient history and careful eye examination, and treatment is based on the underlying etiology. Recognizing the need for emergent referral to an ophthalmologist is key in the primary care management of red eye. Referral is necessary when severe pain is not relieved with topical anesthetics; topical steroids are needed; or the patient has vision loss, copious purulent discharge, corneal involvement, traumatic eye injury, recent ocular surgery, distorted pupil, herpes infection, or recurrent infections.