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Prevalence of spectacle and contact lens wear in the UK fire service

Margrain, Thomas Hengist ORCID:, Owen, Christopher G. and Woodward, E. Geoffrey 1996. Prevalence of spectacle and contact lens wear in the UK fire service. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 16 (1) , pp. 11-18. 10.1046/j.1475-1313.1996.95000089.x

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Despite the fact that firefighting has been shown to be a visually demanding occupation, the present visual standards for firefighters prohibit the use of spectacles or contact lenses operationally. To determine the proportion of the UK fire service currently using spectacles and contact lenses, and how many may benefit from optical correction, a questionnaire was distributed. This contained 30 questions and was sent to 1550 firefighters. The data from 1064 returned questionnaires have been analysed. The results show that approximately 20% of those serving in the fire service have used an optical correction at some time in their lives. When not working, approximately 6% of firefighters wear spectacles for distance vision and 15% wear them for reading. Only 0.4% of firefighters use contact lenses. Half of this contact lens wearing group use their lenses while on operational duty. In total, approximately 2% of firefighters use an optical correction for operational duties. The results indicate that a high visual standard at the time of entry into an occupation cannot guarantee good vision throughout an individual's career. In addition, an estimated 11 000 firefighters in the UK, who have spectacles or contact lenses, do not use them for operational duties. The present visual standards prevent this group of firefighters from obtaining their optimal visual performance at work.

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 10:39

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