Author(s): Salibello C, Nilsen E
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The use of video display terminals (VDT) in the workplace is growing rapidly. Visual problems associated with computer use are increasing apace. Recognizing and addressing these needs are vital tasks for the optometric practitioner. This paper examines the demographics, prevalence of symptoms, and other work- and vision-related factors among VDT workers. Understanding the characteristics of a typical patient can aid in developing effective treatment protocols. METHODS: Twenty-two optometrists collected data from 324 patients who work on VDT screens for a minimum of 2 hours per day. A questionnaire was used to collect the data. Along with reporting the patients' dry manifest refraction results, the survey instrument also included a self-report of experienced symptoms. RESULTS: The prototypical patient, based on the total subject population, is a 38-year old, mildly myopic female who uses the computer screen about 5 hours per day. Average total VDT work experience is about 5 years. Most of the patients use full-color screens and sit between 21 and 22 inches away from the screen. A variety of visual symptoms is reported, with eyestrain (65 percent) and headaches (42 percent) being the most common complaints. CONCLUSIONS: Between 75 percent (results of this study) and 88 percent (reported by NIOSH) of patients who use a VDT regularly are likely to be symptomatic. This study has helped to identify the "typical" VDT user and the symptoms this user is most likely to report. The next step is to develop a diagnostic and treatment protocol by which optometrists can prescribe for and potentially prevent these computer-related vision problems.
This article was published in J Am Optom Assoc
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access