What is the problem?
The single most common health problem reported by people working at a video display terminal (VDT) is "eyestrain". Symptoms typically reported include blurred vision or difficulty focusing, double vision, burning, sore or itchy eyes and tiredness.
Workers compensation costs have skyrocketed in recent years due to the health effects of working on computer. In 1998, work related concerns relating to ergonomics amounted to over 26 billion dollars! And, although musculoskeletal problems have decreased over the past 6 years, vision concerns for computer users continues to increase.
As of now it is the employees responsibility to ensure that they have regular eye tests carried out by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. The cost of providing the eye tests, and any glasses that may be required for VDT work, will have to be met by the employee. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is considering regulations to require employers to be responsible for their employees who use VDTs regularly on the job. Future regulations may make provision for vision screening to be provided as a means of identifying individuals with defective vision who need a complete eye examination.
The Eye-CEE System for Computer Users
The Eye-CEE (Computer Ergonomic Evaluation) System for Computer Users is the product of several years research and development at the Department of Optometry and Visual Science at City University in London, England. The system meets the requirements for screening of video display screen users in a simple, appropriate and cost effective way.
The package consists of a computer program that may be used on any PC capable of running Microsoft Windows. It is also network compatible. The program carries out a comprehensive on-screen assessment of a users visual performance. The advantage of using the display screen to present the tests, is that the results obtained provide direct information about how the yes are performing under normal VDT viewing condition. Conventional vision screeners which use optical systems to present the test targets, cannot provide such direct information.
In addition to the vision test, the program includes a detailed on-line questionnaire to establish how the display is used and the nature of any problems the user may be experiencing with their eyes, back, neck, arms, wrists, etc. The questionnaire also covers problems with the display, lighting and the general layout of the workstation. The program then performs an analysis of the responses to the questionnaire and the results of the vision screening and provides detailed advice about the likely causes of any problems reported and what action should be taken to resolve the problems.
The package therefore provides a powerful too for those responsible for implementing health and safety programs. The program is easy to use (even by non-Windows users), with detailed on-screen instructions provided throughout. A complete assessment using the system usually takes between 10-15 minutes.
The user is asked a series of questions about how they use a display screen and any problems they may have with their eyes, the display screen, lighting condition, etc. The questionnaire is "intelligent" in as much as the questions posed are to some extent determined by the responses given to previous questions.
Vision Screening Tests.
Some of the vision screening tests are based on standard tests which would be used by an Optometrist during an eye examination, while others have been developed specifically for the program. All the tests have been carefully designed at City University in London and validated by the Association of Optometrists. The tests include Visual Acuity, Letter Search, Number Search, Muscle Balance, Eye Co-ordination, Visual Fields, a Subjective Screen Rating, and more.
The program provides on-screen results and recommendations for the user. the recommendations are based on the results of the questionnaire and the screening tests. The user may print their results and recommendations to keep as a personal record of the vision screening. The program will also provide a printed record for the employer and a technical report to be take to the Optometrist if a full eye examination is recommended as a result of the screening.
The program will also provide detailed advice and recommendations tailored to each user. These recommendations are wide-ranging and are designed to educate the user about how to use their VDT safely and efficiently.
The program provides a number of administration functions in addition to the basic screening tests and report generation. It is recognized that different companies will wish to implement health and safety programs in different ways. With this in mind, many features of the program are configurable allowing the employer to tailor the program to suit their particular needs. For example, the employer can select which tests are carried out, which reports are printed and whether or not recommendations on the general ergonomics of the workstation are provided.
The program can readily save results of a screening to disk and provides various tools for managing and reviewing stored records.
Benefits to the employer
There is no conclusive evidence that work with display screen equipment causes any permanent damage to the eyes or eyesight. Furthermore, many eye problems experienced by VDT users are related to poor workstation design or inappropriate work practices rather than vision defects.
The Eye-CEE System provides a simple and cost-effective way of identifying those users who are likely to benefit from a full eye examination. Research has shown that the sensitivity and the specificity of the on-screen vision tests performed by the Eye-CEE System is much better than conventional screening techniques. In other words, the System is very effective at identifying those users with vision defects. Therefore, users who are not experiencing any eye problems will be reassured by the test. Those users who are experiencing eye problems but pass the vision tests are advised to consider the layout of their workstation and work practices, as well as to seek a full examination.
Those users who decide to seek a full eye examination at the outset will also benefit from the Eye-CEE System because the program provides a detailed report which will assist the Optometrist in their examination. A complete vision screening usually takes less than 15 minutes and can be done on site, at the employees workstation or at dedicated health-care stations. Implementing the Eye-CEE System therefore causes minimal disruption to a users normal work routine.
By using the Eye-CEE System, the employer can become pro-active in sight health care, and can regularly test all display screen users for a relatively small cost. The Eye-CEE System provides detailed advice about many aspects of health and safety in relation to display screen and would lend support to health training schemes within a company or organization.
Benefits to the employee
The Eye-CEE System provides a "state of the art" assessment of visual performance while viewing a display screen. The tests are sensitive to small vision defects and are wholly appropriate to a users normal working environment. The employee can use the vision screener simply for reassurance to check on perceived deterioration. The recommendations produced by the program can help the employee to understand many of the problems associated with display screen work and to be more aware of their own health and safety at work.
The Eye-CEE System can be incorporated into the workplace in a number of different ways. First, it can be purchased outright and installed by the health and safety coordinator. The installation is self-explanatory and simple to use. Additionally, an Optometric consultant can be sent to the company and install the program, instruct the administrator on how to use the system and offer a seminar to the employees which will enhance the value of the system.
Free technical support is available for the duration of the licensing agreement.
The Eye-CEE System for Computer Users provides:
A "state of the art" assessment of visual performance while viewing a display screen and thus helps to identify those users who are most likely to benefit from a full eye examination.
Detailed advice and recommendations based on the results of standardized vision tests.
A simple and cost-effective solution for implementing part of a health and safety program.ORDER the Eye-CEE Software Program