Office Ergonomics

Were you aware that 51.8% of ophthalmologists reported experiencing symptoms affecting their neck, lower back, or upper body? This comes from a nonergonomic posture which with repetitive motions causes stress to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and inflammation to set into joints. And with arguably the highest volume of patients seen per clinic, the toll of these motions can catch up with the physician.

Last year, what I thought was tennis elbow turned out to be related to something bigger when I experienced bilateral epicondylitis. It affected my handwriting, my ability to pick up objects like a suitcase, even shaking someone’s hand. My orthopedist suggested that it was related to my excessive typing on EMR, for papers and research, and emails. I needed to find a solution since typing is an essential part of my work life.

So I obtained an ergonomics consult from our occupational health department and they suggested many things to improve my environment. These included assuming a more neutral posture with my legs at a 90-degree angle from my torso, using a wireless mouse and keyboard to reduce extensor tendon usage, and using the back of my chair to support the lower spine to assume a more neutral position. At home, I don’t type with my computer on my lap but instead use a desk. In the OR, I have found the nGenuity to be incredibly helpful in reducing back stress and improving posture. It has taken me over a year to recover and to return to my normal activities.

Christina Weng and Yannick Leiderman in September’s issue of OSLI-Retina cover the office ergonomics of the retina with beautiful illustrations of good and bad positioning while in clinic and surgery. You can read more HERE

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