WASHINGTON — More than many clinicians, pediatric ophthalmologists are challenged by repetitive non-ergonomic postures that may lead to long-term musculoskeletal issues. These physicians often maintain static postures of the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and trunk, leading to occupational symptoms that may be temporarily or permanently debilitating.
“You think, I’m only doing this for a minute, but it’s a minute times your career, over and over again,” Scott E. Olitsky, MD, said at the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting, where he led a workshop on musculoskeletal symptoms among ophthalmologists and how to prevent them.
“The more time you spend in non-ergonomic postures, the more likely you are to develop these symptoms,” workshop participant Safeer F. Siddicky said.
To reduce time spent in non-ergonomic positions in the clinic, for example, Siddicky suggested reclining the patient for retinoscopy and refraction, altering the slit lamp platform height to sit upright, moving the patient forward to reduce leaning, and using an elbow rest to reduce the amount of unsupported elbow-raise.
In the operating room, Olitsky suggested the surgeon stand while operating, so as to impart less weight on the lumbar spine while allowing easier movement, as well as allowing for surgeons and assistants of different heights to maintain proper posture.
Workshop participant Donny W. Suh, MD, FAAP, described loupe headgear he has devised that reduces the angle of head and neck inclination, reduces the weight of the headgear and can be worn comfortably.
Drawing inspiration from the field of dentistry, which has made strides in improving ergonomically friendly equipment, Olitsky said, “We need to absolutely push these manufacturers to change things because unless we demand it, they are not going to do it.” – by Patricia Nale, ELS
Olitsky SE, et al. Musculoskeletal symptoms among ophthalmologists and how to prevent them. Presented at: American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting; March 18-22, 2018; Washington.
Disclosure: Olitsky and Siddicky report no relevant financial disclosures. Suh reports he and the University of Nebraska Medical Center own the patent for the loupe technology discussed and that all proceeds benefit the Orbis program.