Correlates of ocular and somatic symptoms among video display terminal users.
Smith-AB; Tanaka-S; Halperin-W; Richards-RD
Hum Factors 1984 Apr; 26(2):143-156
In response to a request from an officer of the union representing a large number of employees of a newspaper company, a study was conducted to determine the effects of video display terminals (VDTs) on the environment and health of employees who use them. Specifically, problems associated with the eyes were studied by means of a questionnaire containing 213 questions. Four questions described the VDT user's typical work pattern, 12 inquired as to the bothersomeness of the various ergonomic aspects of VDT work, 56 concerned headache symptoms, 23 concerned symptoms occurring during normal work activities, and 23 concerned attitudes and feelings toward the respondent's job. The target population for the study consisted of 588 active union members. Of these members, 283 answered the questionnaire and underwent the eye examination. Symptom complaints were not associated with merely using a VDT in this study. Particular aspects of VDT usage were associated with headache and somatic symptoms. Workplace lighting and bothersome visual aspects of the VDT screen as they impacted on clarity and readability were the factors singly or jointly explaining the plurality of symptoms experienced. Statistically significant relationships were also found between the hours per week of VDT operation and years of VDT operating experience and the eyes shifting mode of VDT operation which suggests inexperience with VDT usage. No correlation was found between the symptoms and the adequacy of the users' ocular refractions or between symptoms and the wearing of glasses with multifocal lenses.
NIOSH-Author; Eye-disorders; Office-workers; Human-factors-engineering; Workplace-studies; Work-performance; Eyesight; Visual-fields; Video-display-terminals
Alexander B. Smith, M.D., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226