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Effect of personal protective eyewear on postural stability

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Vision is a significant factor in postural stability; this study is the first to report on the effect of OSHA regulated personal protective eyewear on physiological factors associated with postural stability. Twenty college students between the ages of 19 and 25 were randomly tested in each of three eyewear conditions (control, new, and artificially aged) using a NeuroCom® Balance Master System and the mCTSIB protocol. Subjects were pre-tested with no eyewear (control) on each day followed by a 5-min assembly task with random eyewear assignment. Subjects were then post-tested following the same protocol while wearing the eyewear. Data were evaluated using a two (pre/post) × three (eyewear) repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). There was a significant main effect for both the eyes open/firm flat surface, and eyes open/foam flat surface conditions (p  .05). These findings suggest that while personal protective eyewear may serve to protect an individual from eye injury, an individual's use of such personal protective eyewear may have deleterious effects on sensory input from the visual system and compensatory strategies to maintaining or regaining postural stability. Individuals who employ protective eyewear on a daily basis need to be aware of the effect of altered visual input resulting from eyewear on their postural stability, especially during sensory-challenging tasks, such as navigating ladders, scaffolding and elevated surfaces, typically found in construction environments.
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Keywords: Personal protective equipment; Personal protective eyewear; Postural stability; Safety; Sway velocity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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