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Ophthalmic Service (Factories)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1942

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asked the Minister of Supply the incidence of eye accidents in factories under his Department, and the steps taken for their prevention and treatment?

Returns of eye injuries at Royal Ordnance factories have not hitherto been abstracted from case records, but arrangements have now been made to obtain these returns. Adequate preventive measures are taken by the provision of guards or goggles where necessary. Minor injuries are treated at the factory surgery, but where the injury is serious the employee is sent to hospital.

Does that answer not emphasise the need for the services of ophthalmic surgeons, who understand the very important questions that arise in injuries of this kind?


asked the Minister of Supply what arrangements are made for the service of ophthalmic surgeons to be available to factory workers under his Department; and to what extent he relies on the service of sight-testing opticians?

Eye examination is a part of the normal medical examination by factory medical officers in the Royal Ordnance factories. Under present arrangements, ordinary cases would be referred by the factory medical officer to sight-testing opticians on the register of the Joint Council of Qualified Opticians. The arrangements also provide for consultations where necessary between the factory medical officers and ophthalmic surgeons.

Is it not desirable to make use of the regular services of ophthalmic surgeons, who alone can see the really important damage that may be at the back of these injuries and which cannot always be appreciated by sight-testing opticians?

There are cases which it may be necessary to refer to skilled eye surgeons, and this is done.

Are not eye-testing opticians more competent at discovering these things than ordinary doctors?

Is all possible use being made of the services of ophthalmic surgeons?

Yes, Sir. The hon. Member brought a deputation to see me, as a result of which we are in contact with the eye surgeons and have made an offer to them in connection with a number of our factories.