Eye Tests Important For Workplace Safety

June 1, 2015

There are many kinds of eye examination procedures used by Doctors of Optometry.  Beyond simply checking a person’s ability to focus, they test the eyes in ways which are highly relevant to safety in the workplace – from light adjustment to depth perception and colour blindness.  Here’s an overview of the most common procedures, all of which are non-invasive and easily performed in your local Optometry office: 

  1. Muscle Alignment & Cover Testing– The Optometrist asks you to visually track a moving object to see that your eyes are working together, covering each eye in turn to see how it responds.   If your eyes do not track or align well, a number of therapies from resting the dominant eye to using corrective lenses might be recommended.  Keeping the eyes working together is essential for depth perception, which can be a real safety factor in the worksite.
  2. Pupil Reflex Testing – Using bright light and darkness, the Optometrist will see how quickly your pupils react.     Slow reactions to changes in light can be an indicator of many serious health conditions, from head trauma to strokes, tumors or poisoning.   Light-sensitivity itself is also a safety hazard in the workplace; and if this is a chronic issue for you, light-sensitive coatings can be applied to eyewear to compensate for this.
  3. Focus Testing  (Refraction) – Your eyes will be tested for their ability to focus at different ranges and in different lighting.  This can identify vision deficiencies you might only experience in certain situations, but that can be potentially critical to on-the-job safety.
  4. Slit-Lamp Test – In this test, you rest your chin while the Optometrist shines a bright light into your eyes, giving a highly magnified view of the back of your eye.  This test shows the overall health of the retina, optic nerve, macula and other eye structures.   It also allows a detailed view overall eye health (and often your body health) as it can show early signs of cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes and many other conditions.
  5. Eye Pressure Testing (Tonometry) – This tests the fluid pressure within the eye.  Elevated eye pressure can be caused by the patient’s genetics, related to a medication or caused by an injury.  In fact, injury can cause high pressure in the eye months or years after the actual injury occurs.  Regardless, high pressure within the eye can be quite serious, indicating a risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) or glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition caused by high pressure in the eye, leading to optic nerve damage.
  6. Colour Perception Testing – Many workplaces use colours to indicate safety barriers and signs. At the same time, many people go through life not even knowing they are colour blind.  Colour perception testing is a simple procedure of picking numbers or letters out of background, but verifying colour perception can be critical in the workplace.

In summary, eye testing is far more than checking to see if you can read a set letters on a far wall.   To keep your eyes in healthy condition over the life of your career, always see your Optometrist annually, use proper eye protection, and be “eye safe”! Click here to find an Optometrist office near you.

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