Paramedic practice in low light conditions: a scoping review

Background: Paramedics undertake visually demanding tasks, which may be adversely affected by low lighting conditions. Aims: The study aimed to: identify difficulties paramedics experience carrying out tasks in low light; and establish occupational health standards and adjustments that may improve working practices. Methods: A scoping review was undertaken informed by a professional panel of paramedics recruited through social media. A meta-analysis was conducted assessing visual acuity under different light levels. Findings: Difficulty in driving and in assessing/treating patients under low light conditions were reported. Sixty relevant studies were identified for review. Visual acuity reduces with decreasing luminance, causing increasing difficulties in performing critical tasks. Conclusion: Visual function testing can assess paramedics' visual health and ability to undertake critical tasks. Adjustments may help to improve conditions. Regular occupational health assessments could identify paramedics who need support. Further research should explore levels of visual function and practical adjustments needed for safe clinical practice.

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