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Robledo F. Rocha's Blog

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Robledo F. Rocha

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In the same way as for any occupational group, numerous potential health hazards are associated with the routine work of pathologists.

Empirical evidence gathered from close observation of work colleagues' complaints and of their own suggests to pathologists that their most common health problems are intolerance reactions to formalin, musculoskeletal disorders due to non-ergonomically optimized office chair and microscope, and cutting injuries during macroscopic organ dissection and autopsy.

Yes, all of them are common health occupational problems afflicting pathologists. However, they are not the most common one. In accordance to a study carried out by Fritzsche et al. with pathologists working in Switzerland in 2012, almost 90% of them had visual refraction errors, mainly myopia, that appeared or were aggravated after they have started working in pathology. This percentage is worryingly higher than of general population, university students or other hospital workers, and is probably associated with eye-straining activities such as long lasting microscopy and computer work.

I have consulted several colleagues and almost all of them report similar visual refraction errors. Many didn't even use prescription eyeglasses or contact lens before devoting themselves exclusively to the work as pathologists. And the majority who were already using prescription eyeglasses or contact lens has not succeeded in stabilizing the degree of visual deficiency. Facing this quite gloomy perspective, nobody has yet consented to undergo a laser refractive surgery for correction of the visual refraction error, excepted me.

Despite I had been insistently advised not to undergo a laser refractive surgery for correction of myopia because of the risk of relapse of the visual refraction error determined by my occupational activities, the desire to get rid of eyeglasses spoke far louder.

Now I'm glad with the short-term outcome of the surgery. I hope I might remain so, in order to be a divergent statistical data.

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Dr. Mona Abdel-Halim

Posted

Agree. Robledo, I have symptoms of press byopia getting more and more irritating,, will do glasses soon,,, and neck symptoms :-( but it is a passion, this dermatopathology thing, I ask God everyday to grant me the health needed to keep doing this till the end of my life,,, congrats for your LASER operation, may God protect your eyes...
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Mark A. Hurt MD

Posted

Robledo,

Yes, back, neck, shoulder strain are common problems in pathology. Additionally repetitive injuries related to moving slides on the scope are also a consideration. I recommend that everyone get up and move at least once per hour. I have personally found also that a regular workout schedule is enormously beneficial.

Although I haven't seen it published, Earl Glusac, MD, a past-president of the American Society of Dermatopathology, discussed the benefits of some chairs and desks that are able to alter heights so that part of the daily sign-out can occur sitting or standing -- to attempt to reduce some of these problems.

It's food for thought.
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