There is an “oral tradition”, especially among myopics, that heavy lifting leads to retinal detachment (RD). Some years ago, searching the literature, we failed to find evidence supporting this theory. Then, in the early 2000s, we performed a case-control study to test the hypothesis that repeated lifting tasks could be a risk factor for RD.Methods
Cases were identified among myopic patients surgically treated for RD in a large urban hospital. Controls were drawn from myopic outpatients attending an eye clinic in the same catchment area. Both filled in a questionnaire on personal and work-related factors, including past/present occupational lifting tasks. Three categories of exposure to lifting (product of load, manoeuvres/hour and lifting-years) were identified: no lifting, light lifting (≤8000 kg freq yr), heavy lifting (>8000 kg freq yr). We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) by fitting a logistic regression model adjusted for age, sex and degree of myopia.Results
61 cases and 99 controls were identified. In addition to ocular surgery and ocular and/or head trauma (known risk factors), strong independent associations were recorded for heavy lifting (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.5–13) and high body mass index (OR 6.8, 95% CI 1.6–29). No association was recorded for light lifting (OR 1.1, 95% CI 0.4–3.0).Conclusion
These findings supported the a priori hypothesis that heavy lifting was a strong risk factor for RD. We are now conducting a multicentre case-control study to confirm our previous results. If confirmed, this association would open up new opportunities for prevention.