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Visual tasks of a podiatrist - a questionnaire

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by optom, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. optom

    optom Welcome New Poster

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    Hi guys,
    I'm a UK Optometry student and I've been given the task of producing a report on the visual requirements of a Podiatrist (we've each been given different jobs to research). I was wondering if somebody could give me some insight about their vision in their line of work.

    For example:
    When seeing patients, do you wear any safety goggles or masks? (Thinking of transfer of infection)
    Do you require a special pair of reading glasses to closely inspect patients' feet?
    What kind of lighting conditions do you work in?
    Do you make use of lasers, corrosive chemicals, or X-rays; and if so do your wear any protective equipment while doing so?
    What would you say is the greatest hazard to your vision at work?

    Thanks very much in advance
    optom :)
  2. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Funny you should ask. I've been thinking about eyes a lot lately as I'm just hitting the age where I'm starting to need glasses.

    I've used the line that orthotics are a lot like eye glasses for over a decade. You can get around without them, but life is better with them. My eyes have just gotten to the point where this is now true. After taking a long drive without glasses, my eyes are really fatigued. Now, with glasses, much less fatigue. (My optometrist says I'm still legal to drive without them.) The far vision issue has been noticable over the past 5 years. In the last year I've noticed that it's getting harder to find that tiny splinter in the foot. Or to see the fine skin lines in a wart. (In my youth, I used to think that surgeons who used loupes were just showing off. Not now.)

    I got some progressive lenses. My optometrist was really pushing them. Having been on the other side, I can tell when someone is pushing a product (informed consent). I didn't buy them from him, but did find a much better deal. Ok, I can see the tiny splinter now, but having to hold your head just right to have both eyes in focus is a bit of a pain. (Another analogy to getting orhtotics. There is a subconscious adjustment to the new situation. You have to learn to tilt your head to get the progressives in focus. In orthotics, you have to learn to use your posterior tibial muscle more to decrease pressure in the arch of a high arched orthotic.) I think I'm going to break down and get a pair of bifocals to see what I like best.

    The biggest hazard to eyes is flying objects. I use a bandsaw that likes to split plastic. I've always used safety glasses when I use the bandsaw. Flying toenails are another hazard. (I had a fellow instructor who would gross out the first year students when told them about the time he inadvertently swallowed one, because he left his mouth open.)

    My favorite podiatry/eye story occurred when I was teaching students how to make orthotics. A student had incorrectly applied a balance platform to a cast and you can break them off by hammering them. As he starts to hammer, I run over to him with a pair of safety glasses. He says, "No, I'll be fine" and holds the cast as far away from his face as he can, leans his head the opposite way and hammers away. Piece of plaster right in his eye on the first stroke.

  3. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


    I'm 55 I have 3 pairs of glasses for work, one for generally working about the office and workshop and using the computer, where I can focus from about 2 feet to about 8 feet, one pair for reading and closer work than 2 feet but less than 1 foot. Then when I want to see the feet for close inspection I have another pair that are for work between 18" and 8" after that I have a headset with a wide selection of magnifying lenses that I bought off QVC about 10 years ago, these are for getting in to see corns under nails and ingrown nail edges and splinters and tiny or deep work on the skin. Varifocals might be an answer but they are a pain to find the right focus and head / eye position to see the work especially when I am continually changing orientation around the foot of interest. Also I have about a dozen pairs of glasses dotted around so I don't have to keep going back to find the ones I left in another room or hunt around for a pair I have mislaid. This means that if I had prescription glasses I would be forking out a fortune, so I use ready readers. I use safety goggles or glassess occasionally but unless they were prescription then I can't see to do grinding or drilling work. There are goggles that accommodate glasses but they distort the vision and the glasses slip. Glasses on their own often steam up when using a face mask. I have only once in 13 years had a work related minor eye injury and that was when I didn't cover the nippers properly with my thumb and a nail cutting pinged out and flew like a javelin and stuck in the corner of my eye, that smarted a bit.

    Dave Smith
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  4. madmacaw

    madmacaw Member

    Hi Optom

    I have a general pair of glasses which I wear all of the time and then a pair of bi-focals for clinic/computer work. These bifocals give me a better field of overall vision when working with patients than vari-focals would. It is suggested that we wear goggles (or glasses) when we are using bevelling machines, drills (with either Moore's disc or burr) or when handing phenol (carbolic acid).

    Hope that this helps,

  5. Pauline burrell-saward

    Pauline burrell-saward Active Member

    I wear a pair of varifocals and they are fine for just about every thing, dont seem to have a problem with movement of the head but then I have worn glasses all my life.

    I use a magnifying/lamp for close work and always wear a face shield. when drilling
  6. jane.e.benson

    jane.e.benson Active Member

    I'm now at a stage where varifocals don't work for close up ( I used to look under the glasses any way). I now wear primark 1.5 reading glasses, approved by my optician and only cost £2.00.protective glasses cause steaming so I don't use them and yes, keep mouths shut and thumbs on nails when trimming!
  7. MissB

    MissB Active Member

    I don’t wear special glasses when inspecting feet – I use the magnifier on the light for close up work.

    In clinic…Bright! Ceiling lights and station lamp.

    I wear either reading glasses or goggles when using the nail drill, purely to protect myself from being hit in the eye with either A). a piece of nail, or B). the drill bit flying off and smacking me in the eye. OUCH!
    I ALWAYS wear goggles when handling phenol – I learnt the hard way and got splash back – got acid burns on my cheek – narrowly missed my eye by a millimetre.

    I would actually say that the greatest hazard to my vision at work is the mobility of the patient, or, the quality of the treatment couch. For example, I’ve worked in a clinic where the treatment couch didn’t raise high enough, the legs didn’t tilt, and the bed had no incline. It made doing plantar work DIFFICULT. Couldn’t see a thing.

    In terms of my actual vision, I would say goggles steaming up.
  8. cecilia1923

    cecilia1923 Member

    A few years ago, whilst treating a client and wearing my glasses, a toenail went in my eye, when it came out, it must have left a bit of dirt and consequently my eye became infected. The problem was that when I looked down at a foot, the glasses fell onto my nose and that was how the nail went in.
    With the help of my local optician I bought prescription safety glasses that have an additional piece put onto the legs so that they stay on my ears when I bend over. The optician said that they are usually prescribed for small children to keep their glasses on when they are at school. They work really well.
  9. optom

    optom Welcome New Poster

    Thanks everyone for the replies, going through them now!!
  10. optom

    optom Welcome New Poster

    Can anyone think of any example of a situation where someone who was a) colorblind or b) had difficulty seeing fast-moving/flickering objects would be less able to work as a podiatrist than someone with normal sight? Or can colour blind people be podiatrists too? ;)

  11. cecilia1923

    cecilia1923 Member

    I have epilepsy. I don't know if I am also photosensitive but I don't put myself at risk, just in case. Sometimes when I go into a room there might be a flourescant light and I can see a bit of a flicker in them, that other people can't see.
    For a flashing light to make a difference, person with epilepsy has to see the image through both eyes. If I am watching the news for instance and the reporter says that there may be flashing images, I put my hand over one of my eyes and then watch the article.
    When this happens, I usually tell the person that the light isn't good enough and I then use the head-torch that I always have in my bag.
  12. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    I know a podiatrist, top bloke and ruggedly handsome looking, who once had a toenail lodge behind his eye-lid, turn and penetrate the sclera? and aqueous humor leaked. It required an opthamologic? surgeon to intervene to retrieve the bugger!

    Cecilia, in another life I worked in a very large rehabilitation centre, ~ 500 outpatients, half of whom were under 25. They held a 'disco' every lunch, with revolving sparkling reflecting light thingy above, and I was kept busy loading the young ladies (especially) who had the misfortune of having epilepsy, onto trolleys and down to the nurses. They would always be back the next lunch! Had a smashing girlfriend who worked making microfiche and she had a 'lot of fun' narrowly avoiding episodes, a lot of lights pulsating the main villian. We broke up and I 'fell in love' with a young lady who had a full leg amputation, now that's another story.......

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