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S. Haas-Braehler, R. Breitstadt, P. Morfeld, J. Wahl, L. Barleon, C. Deter, A. Lichtmess, U. Mueller, E. Muenster, N. Pfeiffer; EDMAGS (Evonik-Degussa-Mainz-Glaucoma Study) I: Design and Realization of a Glaucoma Prevalence Study in the Chemical Industry. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):423.
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Because of the increased glaucoma-risk at an age over 40 a study was launched to provide a glaucoma screening program in a working population of the chemical industry. The aim was to recruit at least 30 % of all employees (> 40 y) at 13 sites of Evonik Industries in Germany. We wanted to assess glaucoma prevalence and information about vision distortions. Of additional concern was the possible association between software-ergonomics and self-reported health problems.
Participants where attracted to take part by an intensive advertising campaign. They were examined by three ophthalmologists (LB, AL, CD). Basic individual data (gender, age, etc) and examination results (acuity, refraction, pachymetry, fundus photography, tonometry, frequency doubling technology, Heidelberg Retina Tomograph) were recorded in a database (Visual Data Publisher). After evaluation by a senior ophthalmologist (JW) and refeeding his reports into the database every employee received a letter with his individual results. In case of abnormalities, a control was recommended. Each employee received a questionnaire about the regularly applied software and complaints while using it. All data were pseudonominized. All participants provided written consent. The study was supervised by the data protection officer of Evonik Industries.
From July 2007 to April 2008 4234 (32.5 %) out of 13049 employees (40-65 y) were examined. The participation rate varied from 18.4 % to 62.6 % across the sites because of differences in local infrastructure and organization. 98.6 % participants returned questionnaires. 44.8 % of all parcipitants received a recommendation to consult a general ophthalmologist (25.4 %) or optometrist (19.4 %). The referral was given more often in production sites than in the administration where PC-workers undergo vision tests regularly.
We were successful in recruiting more than 30% of the target working population. The rather high number of recommended consultations may demand consequences from the occupational health service of the company. The study documents a successful cooperation between industrial occupational health and university institutes.
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