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Werner Eisenbarth; Vision assessment in workers with intellectual disabilities. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2123.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The goal was to create optimal working conditions in terms of visual perception for workers with intellectual disabilities. To that end, a survey of visual status was conducted in a workshop for such workers. Finally, all participants received a proposal to improve their vision.
We recruited 182 workers (78 women, 104 men, mean age 44.35, SD ±13.39 years, range: 19 - 72 years) with intellectual disabilities to participate in a vision screening program in their familiar workshop. The assessment consisted of objective refraction, visual acuity for near (40 cm) and distance vision (3 m, Lea-Chart), ocular motility, near-point of convergence, cover/uncover test, stereo acuity and color perception (Ishihara chart). If necessary, an individual fitting of eye glasses followed the screening program. Finally, the participants as well as their supervisors had the opportunity to evaluate the optometric screening program.
More than 80% of the participants had not received eye care for over 3 years. At the beginning of the screening program, visual acuity for far vision was -0.31 log (0.49 dec) and -0.41 log (0.39 dec) for near vision. After individual subjective determination of refraction, best corrected visual acuity for far vision was -0.27 log (0.54 dec) and -0.28 log (0.53 dec) for near vision (in both cases with p < 0.0001). In 26% of workers, we found a threshold of stereopsis of higher than 63 arc seconds and in 23% some form of color vision deficiency in the Ishihara Test. 24% showed a near point of convergence value (NPC) greater than 10 cm, 24% had abnormalities in the cover-uncover test, and 7% had impaired ocular motility. Only 13.7% of participants reported difficulties in near vision. However, 25.8% of workers received a concrete recommendation for reading or bifocal glasses.
Our findings show that employees with intellectual disabilities have a particular need for optometric care. Although a part of the abnormalities found can be solved by appropriate optical eye care, this particular group of workers is often unaware of their own visual deficits. Therefore, these workers could benefit from increased awareness of the necessity and possibility of improved vision in their work environment in the future. In addition, based on the number of workers who have not received optometric care within the last year, there is a need to increase routine vision care to all workers with intellectual disabilities.
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