Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium
Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Dhaliwal D. Proper posture for surgical longevity. Presented at: Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium; Aug. 21-23, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Dhaliwal reports financial interest in Allergan, Avedro/Glaukos, CorneaGen, Haag-Streit, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Noveome, Ocular Therapeutix, STAAR Surgical and Trefoil.
September 04, 2020
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Ophthalmologists who make ergonomic adjustments may reduce risk of back pain

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Dhaliwal D. Proper posture for surgical longevity. Presented at: Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium; Aug. 21-23, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Dhaliwal reports financial interest in Allergan, Avedro/Glaukos, CorneaGen, Haag-Streit, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Noveome, Ocular Therapeutix, STAAR Surgical and Trefoil.
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Ophthalmologists are at a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders of the back, shoulders, neck and arms, according to a speaker at the virtual Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium.

“Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, are really a high risk in our surgical subspecialty,” Deepinder K. Dhaliwal, MD, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said. “We have a higher risk of MSDs ... especially under stressful circumstances and tasks that require fine motor control and close visual focus, which raises the muscle tension around maintenance of awkward body positions while working.”

In one survey, 51% of ophthalmologists reported neck or back pain with 15% of these respondents reporting limitations as a result of these symptoms, Dhaliwal said. Use of ergonomically designed furniture and equipment may help reduce this risk.

Poor posture due to prolonged craning of the neck and day-long sitting is a major contributor to musculoskeletal disorders in ophthalmologists, she said. Combatting these issues requires proactive action as simple as asking patients to move closer during examination or tilting equipment to maintain proper vertical positioning.

Additionally, Dhaliwal suggests physicians take stretching and strengthening “microbreaks” between cases, or perform meditation and deep breathing exercises. Prolonged pain and discomfort may even warrant help from a physical therapist, occupational therapist or acupuncturist, with surgical intervention being a last resort, she said.

“We have to understand ergonomic positioning, be aware of our posture with every patient and take time to adjust our equipment,” Dhaliwal said. “Get help and don't think it's just going to go away.”