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Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol. 2013 Oct-Dec;20(4):336-40. doi: 10.4103/0974-9233.120023.

Topical ocular anesthetic abuse among Iranian welders: time for action.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalence of topical ocular anesthetic abuse among welders in Iran and suggest public health solutions for this issue.

METHODS:

In this cross-sectional study, 390 welders were randomly recruited and queried on the use of anesthetic drops. A questionnaire was administered through structured one-on-one interviews conducted by the first author.

RESULTS:

A total of 314 welders (80.5%) declared that they had used topical anesthetics at least once during their working lives. Almost 90% of them stated a preference for self-treatment over seeking help from a physician due to cultural and financial reasons. The most commonly used topical anesthetic was tetracaine. Most of the subjects (97.4%) had obtained the drugs from pharmacies without a prescription.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of topical ocular anesthetic abuse among welders in Iran is alarmingly high and may partially be due to cultural issues. Although most physicians are aware that topical anesthetics should only be used as a diagnostic tool, there is a crucial need to re-emphasize the ocular risks associated with chronic use of these medications. Educational programs for both physicians and the public are necessary to address the problem.

KEYWORDS:

Iran; Topical Ocular Anesthetics; Welder

PMID:
24339685
PMCID:
PMC3841953
DOI:
10.4103/0974-9233.120023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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