A cross-sectional ophthalmological survey to determine the ocular health in Nigerian industries was undertaken in four randomly selected industrial establishments in Enugu State of Nigeria. The industrial establishments studied were the cement factory, coal mine, saw mill and iron/steel works where motor spare parts are fabricated. Of the 646 workers, 184 (28.5%) had a history of industrial accidents, 81 (12.5%) of which affected the eye. Eye injury was most commonly caused by metal chips, cement dust, fragments of wood, pieces of coal stone and welders’ arc rays all of which could be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eye coverings. Contusion injury was the most common type of injury reported. Eye accident rate varied from factory to factory as also did the wearing of protective eye devices. overall, the percentage of workers using protective eye cover was 16.7% but there was a significant difference between the factories in this respect, protective eye wear being more often used in factories with higher eye accident rates. A total of 646 technical workers had detailed ophthalmological examination. The types and frequencies ofvisual disorders seen as well as the nature and causes of eye injuries were determined. Five hundred and twenty-eight workers (81.7%) had eye disorders. Presbyopla was responsible for 203 (31.4%) of these disorders while 169 (26.2%) were refractive errors. Of the others, pterygium and pingueculum together numbered 179 (27.7%) while cataract was found in 79 (12.2%) subjects. The results showed a high frequency of eye injuries among industrial workers and a low level of use of protective eye cover while at work. It is recommended that legislation requiring the use of protective devices in high-risk industries should be vigorously enforced to improve the eye health of Nigerian industrial workers.
West African journal of medicine 04/2002; 21(2):132-7.