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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 336-340

Topical ocular anesthetic abuse among Iranian welders: Time for action


1 Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2 Department of Food Hygiene and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran
3 Research Center for Modeling in Health, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
4 Medical Informatics Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Karamouzian
Research Center for Modeling in Health, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Shariati Street, Kerman
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.120023

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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.


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