Individuals who regularly use a video display terminal (VDT) typically spend hours in front of the video screen. Depending on the person’s habits and the ergonomic arrangement of his or her equipment, many physical problems can result.
Neck Problems, Headaches, and Fatigue
Tilting your head up or down to see the screen all day can become a habit. Anyone who holds their head in this unnatural position for hours at a time will develop headaches and neck problems. A solution is to have the screen placed at a perfect level for each individual operator.
Ergonomic Arrangement for Your Workstation
The top of the screen should be just below your line of sight. Sit up straight in a chair with good lumbar support, your head in a neutral position with ears over shoulders. The 90-degree rule applies. Your feet and ankles form a right angle, knees and legs, arms and shoulders. As much as possible, allow the wrists to remain in a neutral position – neither up nor down but hands flat.
Lighting should be medium, without glare. Shutter any windows so the light is soft. The light on your desk should point down at the surface of the workspace. The contrast on your screen should be neither too dark nor too bright. Think about increasing the font size or visual representation of the text as well, so you don’t have to strain to see the words.
Staying glued to a TV screen for hours on end is counterproductive; at the very least, look away from the screen every 20 or 30 minutes, looking at something very far away outside the window. Get up and move around your home or office for a few minutes a couple of times an hour. Studies have shown that periodic rest improves productivity, so if you are staying on the job without rest, you run the risk of burning out. The very best break would be a short walk outside in the sunshine.
Palming and Acupressure
Rub your hands together, building up a friction of heat that you can feel. Now lay your palms directly over your eyelids, without actually touching them. Cup the palms and feel the warmth and moisture that comes from the palms. Accommodate to the darkness, and let go of the screen’s afterimage on your retinas.
You might try acupressure on your eyes. Use the fingertips or thumbs to gently press points on the inner rim of the eye sockets. As you find points that are sensitive, massage gently.
Blink to Avoid Staring
The nature of working with a video display terminal is that it somehow makes us forget about blinking. We find ourselves staring at the terminal. Force yourself to blink more frequently; this will prevent your eyes from drying out, which is a real difficulty. Simply closing your eyes for a few moments can do a lot to keep them comfortable.
Sara Roberts is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, an <a href=”http://www.justeyewear.com“>eyeglasses</a> and <a href=”http://www.justeyewear.com/sunglasses“>prescription sunglasses</a> retailer.
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