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Use of contact lenses by firefighters: Part 2. Clinical evaluation

Owen, Christopher G., Margrain, Thomas Hengist ORCID: and Woodward, E. Geoffrey 1997. Use of contact lenses by firefighters: Part 2. Clinical evaluation. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 17 (3) , pp. 205-215. 10.1111/j.1475-1313.1997.opo_021.x

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Contact lenses can be worn in a variety of environmental conditions and do not increase the wearers risk of injury. In many situations they offer significant corneal protection. Currently firefighters are prohibited from using contact lenses. To evaluate whether contact lenses are a safe form of visual correction 50 firefighters were fitted, and examined after 1, 4 and 10 months of contact lens wear. Twenty-nine were fitted with soft contact lenses, and 21 with rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Statistically significant increase in lid sulcus hyperaemia was found in both the SCL and RGPCL groups (P < 0.01, P = 0.02, respectively), as well as an increase in hyperaemia of the vertical quadrant of the bulbar conjunctivae (P = 0.01, P = 0.02, respectively). In addition the RGPCL group showed a statistically significant increase in hyperaemia of the lateral portion of the bulbar conjunctivae (P < 0.01), consistent with exposure epitheliopathy. The SCL group showed statistically significant increase in corneal staining in the vertical quadrant for all visits (P = 0.02, P = 0.01, P = 0.02 for all visits, respectively), indicative of lens dehydration. These findings although clinically significant are not unique to firefighting, and are found within a "normal" population of contact lens wearers. In conjunction with questionnaire data (Owen et all, 1996) we conclude that soft contact lenses can be worn safely by firefighters without additional risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0275-5408
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 10:38

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