Spectacle trauma

As someone recently injured by their specs, I was interested to read Hoskin et al’s review of spectacle-related eye injuries that has recently been published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry.

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Author: Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser
Date: 20 November 2015

As someone who has been injured by their specs (namely when the lug from a rimless mount pierced the skin near my lateral canthus when I tripped and hit my head on the pavement), I was interested to read Hoskin et al’s review of spectacle-related eye injuries that has recently been published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry.

We are all familiar with the importance of safety spectacles, but do we all consider advising patients in other risk groups (such as those who are prone to falls, functionally one eyed, those who have corneal thinning or have had previous eye surgery or injury) about the importance of safety when choosing specs? Hoskin points out that fractured spectacle lenses have the potential to convert a blunt trauma into a penetrating eye injury, and so this is something not to be taken lightly. It is pointed out that more effort needs to be devoted to developing standards for eye protection for recreational activities (as it is now common to include personal eye protection at work), and educating people about the ocular hazards that exist in the home. Do we all advise our patients to wear specs when gardening? I remember a patient who came to see me on a Saturday morning a while ago. She was in tremendous distress because a cane had poked her in the eye when she was bending down weeding. If she had worn even some basic plano sunspecs this would have prevented the severe corneal insult she suffered. One visit to A&E later…

Do we all consider advising patients in other risk groups about the importance of safety when choosing specs?

The authors conclude that patients who are in a high risk group, or those who are undertaking medium to high risk activities such as sports involving bat, ball or risk of collision, or those undertaking activities such as grinding should be advised to wear suitable spectacles. Those would be specs with impact-resistant lenses glazed into a plastic frame which is not particularly small or with a small vertex distance. 

Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom
Clinical Adviser, College of Optometrists

Susan graduated from City University. After a pre-registration year in multiple practice she was awarded the President’s Prize from the College. Since then, she has completed both bachelor and master of laws degrees and a PhD. She obtained a MA in Medical Ethics and Law from Kings College London and has completed the post graduate ophthalmic public health module at Leeds University. Susan was awarded Fellowship of the College in 2009.  She has completed the College’s Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and the Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. She currently practises part-time in independent practice, is a clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, Optometric Adviser to NHS England, South (South East) and a Case Examiner for the General Optical Council.

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