Eye diseases among kitchen staff in Senior High Schools in the Kumasi Metropolis

  • DB Kumah
  • AO Oteng-Amoako
  • H Apio

Abstract

Fuel wood smoke is known to be associated with a number of ocular diseases such as cataract, pterygium and dry eye syndrome amongst others. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out on 290 kitchen staff in senior secondary schools in the Kumasi metropolis to identify the type of fuel and cooking stoves used and the ocular pathologies affecting them. Ocular examinations were performed on the kitchen staff. The study included administration of questionnaire, clinical and ocular history taking, visual acuity measurements, external eye examination, ophthalmoscopy,
and Schirmer’s tear function test. The study revealed that 22.1% of the respondents had worked in the kitchens for a period of over twenty years. The major ocular complaints found amongst the 290 respondents were itching eyes (50.3%) and excessive tearing (40.3%). Majority (75.2%) of the kitchen staff were suffering from one or more eye diseases. The commonest ocular diseases were dry eyes (46.6%) pterygium (31.1%) and corneal ulcer (8.3%). All (100%) of the schools used firewood as their primary source of fuel. Most (76.9%) of the schools however
used Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to cook certain kinds of meals. Ventilation was poor in 53.9% of the schools visited. Very smoky kitchens were seen in 84.6% of the schools. In conclusion, it was observed that the Kitchen staff of Senior High Schools in the Kumasi Metropolis are
at high risk of developing eye diseases that may be attributed to the working environment.
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