Key points to remember
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board announced that new medical treatment guidelines, including new guidelines covering eye disorders, will take effect on May 2, 2022.
The detailed guidelines on eye disorders are intended for work-related eye injuries and disorders, whether acute, subacute, chronic or postoperative. There is a very short disability period and treatment suggestions for these types of injuries.
It is recommended that insurers ensure that all employees wear eye protection, where appropriate, to prevent eye injuries and trauma. These guidelines will be particularly useful to insurers in the manufacturing, construction and welding industries, and where workers are at risk of eye injury.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has announced new medical treatment guidelines effective May 2, 2022. This alert includes a breakdown of the eye disorders section.
The Council has worked with physicians to produce a series of guidelines that define the medical standard of care for certain published conditions and allow certain treatments to be covered without requiring approval if defined in these guidelines, leading to rapid processing and better defined responsibility. for the carrier.
The medical treatment guidelines for eye disorders include a total of 613 pages of instructions, with the first 72 pages describing specific treatments for work-related eye disorders and the remaining 541 pages describing tables of evidence for properly assessing and treating eye disorders. patients.
Guidelines for the medical treatment of eye disorders are intended for work-related eye injuries and disorders, whether acute, subacute, chronic or postoperative.
About the new guidelines
Due to the nature of eye complexity and eye disorders, each specific injury requires a different treatment plan.
Eye disorders are primarily acute disorders or injuries with the need for treatment completed within the first 5 days and generally involve the care of a primary care physician or primary ophthalmologist as opposed to specialist care. They apply to a very small population of the work environment.
- Ocular diagnosis can range from simple viral conjunctivitis which requires no treatment to chemical burns which may include a corneal transplant. There are several red flags identified to ensure prompt and proper treatment. Surgery is a rarity with very specific conditions identified.
- Professional Note: Welders are at a higher risk of thermal burns, however, these typically present approximately 24 hours after exposure and therefore people may report an injury the next business day. Welders and anyone in the vicinity during welding must wear protective eyewear at all times.
Special studies, as described in the Guidelines, are usually indicated within the first 2-3 days of treatment. Table 5 of the medical treatment guidelines outlines the specific studies recommended based on the diagnosis for successful treatment of ocular disorders.
Most patients should show objective improvement within 48 to 72 hours of eye injury, and anything beyond that should have other identifiable factors under these guidelines.
Most patients can work to some degree while undergoing treatment for most eye disorders.
Recommendations to Insurers
It is recommended that insurers ensure that all employees potentially vulnerable to rare eye trauma situations wear protective eyewear, where appropriate, to prevent eye injury. When an eye injury occurs at work, delayed recovery should be carefully considered. Any treatment that does not progress after 6-12 weeks should be re-evaluated for other eye and psychological problems. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board will provide training for all sections of the medical treatment guidelines; The training schedule is available here.