Productivity associated with visual status of computer users

School of Optometry, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0010, USA.
Optometry - Journal of the American Optometric Association (Impact Factor: 7.5). 02/2004; 75(1):33-47. DOI: 10.1016/S1529-1839(04)70009-3
Source: PubMed


The aim of this project is to examine the potential connection between the astigmatic refractive corrections of subjects using computers and their productivity and comfort. We hypothesize that improving the visual status of subjects using computers results in greater productivity, as well as improved visual comfort.
Inclusion criteria required subjects 19 to 30 years of age with complete vision examinations before being enrolled. Using a double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized design, subjects completed three experimental tasks calculated to assess the effects of refractive error on productivity (time to completion and the number of errors) at a computer. The tasks resembled those commonly undertaken by computer users and involved visual search tasks of: (1) counties and populations; (2) nonsense word search; and (3) a modified text-editing task.
Estimates of productivity for time to completion varied from a minimum of 2.5% upwards to 28.7% with 2 D cylinder miscorrection. Assuming a conservative estimate of an overall 2.5% increase in productivity with appropriate astigmatic refractive correction, our data suggest a favorable cost-benefit ratio of at least 2.3 for the visual correction of an employee (total cost 268 dollars) with a salary of 25,000 dollars per year.
We conclude that astigmatic refractive error affected both productivity and visual comfort under the conditions of this experiment. These data also suggest a favorable cost-benefit ratio for employers who provide computer-specific eyewear to their employees.

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    • "Employees using VDUs a large part of their working days frequently report their eyesight is quite badly affected at work and for some time afterwards. Daum (2002) strongly suggests that improving the visual status of workers using computers results in greater productivity in the workplace, as well as improved visual comfort. The visual symptoms can largely be resolved with proper management of the environment and by providing proper visual care for the employees (Sheddy 1992). "
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    • "Furthermore, computer user surveys conducted at work consistently reported that vision and eye problems were the most frequently self-identified health problem (Collins et al., 1991; Smith et al., 1981; Dain et al., 1988). It has been demonstrated that the health effects associated with computer use impact productivity (Daum et al., 2004; DeRango et al., 2003). The use of computers has grown exponentially in the last 25 years. "
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    • "Only Aaras et al. (1998, 2001) and Horgen et al. (2004) report on visual symptom changes resulting from both lighting changes and the use of corrective lenses. In a knowledge economy with growing numbers of workers using computers, visual strain can affect performance and overall workforce productivity (Daum et al., 2004). A large-scale intervention study was implemented in two US work places to examine the health consequences of providing workers with office ergonomics training and/or a new highly adjustable chair (Amick et al., 2003). "
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