Ocular health research among mechanics: An interview with lead author Dr Emmanuel Kwasi Abu

In our May research feature, we reported a recent ocular health study in the Cape Coast metropolis that found that 39.5% of mechanics suffer from eye injuries. You can read the full research article here: Ocular Health and Safety Assessment among Mechanics of the Cape Coast Metropolis, Ghana. This week we were happy to interview lead author Dr Emmanuel Kwasi Abu, OD, Lecturer  in the Department of Optometry, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, about the paper published in the Journal of Ophthalmic and Vision Research. Read interview below:

What motivated you to carry out this particular research?

My motivation for leading this research emanated from a worry as a result of a personal observation. Any time I visited the artisan village at Siwdu in Cape Coast, I observed a lot of these artisans working without any eye protection. A much worry was the fact that many of them would complain to me when they heard I was an eye doctor. With this background it was easy to organize colleagues to mobilize resources for the project.

What surprised you most about the results of your study?

The surprise was that a sizable number had eye injuries as the use of eye protection was low. Another surprise was the correlation of pterygium development with duration of working as a mechanic.

What are some of the general eye health guidelines/advice we can take from your paper and apply in real life?

My advice/caution for life application is that the longer one exposes his/her eyes to external work related  hazards the more the individual will develop work related eye disorders.

What are the most important things organizations, ministry of health and other stakeholders in this area have to keep in mind in planning effective policies to prevent and manage occupational hazards?

Authorities should ensure strict compliance if such policies are being implemented. That is what meant by “eye safety should be made an integral part of the public health agenda in the Cape Coast Metropolis”

What are your recommendations for future research work in this area?

Future research in occupational eye health should focus on the petroleum industry since we have already done some studies in the mining and farming sectors. A more preferable study design should be a  longitudinal design involving a control group. This will help establish the causality relationship.

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