Visual Ergonomics

VISUAL ERGONOMICS – OVERVIEW

To ensure optimal worker productivity every company should implement a comprehensive Visual Ergonomics program. Attention to ergonomics in the work place has been proven not only to increase the health and well being of employees, but also to reduce health-related insurance claims, reduce lost time, and increase accuracy and efficiency in the work place. GUNNAR works with the foremost authorities in the the field of Visual Ergonomics to bring the following suggestions and education to you:

ELEMENTS OF A PROPER VISUAL ERGONOMICS PROGRAM

Workspace Set Up

The following tips will be a solid start to getting optimal visual workplace performance. They are general, however, and should be adapted to individual users with the help of a trained ergonomist.

  • Set monitors such that the center of the screen creates a 10°- 20° downward viewing angle, inducing proper neck flexion and ocular depression.
  • Set monitor screen to be parallel to the user’s face. ie a 10°- 20° degree upward angle.
  • Set up workspace such that monitor is viewed in the intermediate field of view (24″-32″) rather than normal reading distance (16″-18″).
  • Use a font size large enough to be read at three times the normal viewing distance. eg if the normal viewing distance is 24″ then at 72″, the font should still be large enough to be legible.
  • Screen Brightness – Should be adjusted to match surroundings. Too bright will cause an inability to focus and create “fuzzyness”, too dim will cause strain from trying to filter out excess ambient light.

Proper Lighting

One of the most significant factors affecting the visual system and workplace performance, is lighting. Follow these easy steps to control lighting and ease eye strain.

  • Turn off lights that cause glare or hot spots in the work area.
  • Dim overall office lighting. 540 lm/m2 is optimal, but is half of what is typically recommended for general office use.
  • Retrofit lighting fixtures with baffles or louvers to eliminate direct lighting issues.
  • Put desks and computers in proper alignment with light sources. Align parallel to rows of overhead lighting. Align desks to face away from or perpendicular to windows.
  • Avoid bright, reflective surfaces when choosing desks or floors.
  • Properly adjust blinds such that direct view of the outdoors is blocked when viewed when seated at the comptuer.
  • Use task lighting. Look for lamps with flexible arms and properly adjust them.
  • Use partitions, if necessary.
  • Maintain lighting fixtures. Flicker caused by old ballasts in fluorescent fixtures can cause headaches.
  • Pay attention to color temperature and spectrum. Examine your light bulbs, and look for real data. Be wary of claims of “full spectrum”.

Computer Eyewear

Computer eyewear can significantly increase viewing comfort, reduce digital eye fatigue and make workers more productive while creating fewer errors. GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear should be a critical part of your visual ergonomics program. Keep in mind the following when selecting the right GUNNAR solution for you and your team.

  • The patented frame/lens geometry of GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear wraps close to the user’s face, protecting exposed eyes from drying air currents.
  • The patented tints of GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear filter high energy visible spectrum light and provide more perceived contrast and better viewing comfort.
  • The proprietary stack of coatings on GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear is tuned to match the specific peaks in transmitted artificial light common to computer screens and office lighting.
  • Anti-reflective/anti-glare coatings on GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear will reduce the amount of visual noise perceived and make the image more crisp and vivid than traditional eyewear.
  • GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear is available in a Ready-To-Wear version for 20/20 users or in a custom Rx version for prescription wearers.

Visual Exercises & Planned Breaks

A proper visual ergonomics program should include the practice of planning for breaks at regular intervals and focusing the eyesight in the far distance.  Eye care professionals commonly tout the 20/20/20 rule which includes looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.  Getting up from the desk and providing a wider variety of visual stimulus can be extremely beneficial.  A study by the Several smaller breaks will be more beneficial than one or two large breaks. The increased productivity has been proven to offset the loss of work time.

 

For individuals suffering from heavy eye strain, an eye care professional can recommend a series of eye-strengthening exercises or a full battery of vision therapy. This type of therapy will be custom tailored to the individual and can increase many visual functions including eye tracking, fixation, peripheral vision, and binocular coordination.

Mobile Computing

With the explosion of mobile computing, certain care must be taken to accommodate for

General Eye Care

Professional Consultation

COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME & DIGITAL EYE FATIGUE

According to the American Optometric Association, “Computer Vision Syndrome describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use.” Similar to other repetitive stress induced conditions, CVS is preventable, and typically curable with proper attention.

Symptoms:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Irritated or Burning Eyes
  • Neck or Backache
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Double Vision
  • Color Distortion

Normal Eye Function vs. Eye Function During Extended Screen Viewing

A deep body of research has been done to establish the differences between the state of the eye when viewing normal, non-luminous objects, and viewing visual display terminals (VDTs). The largest contributors to CVS fall into the following categories of physiological problems.

  • Reduced Blink Rate – Various studies have shown a dramatic decrease in blink rate when using a VDT. Average blink rate under normal conditions ranges between 18-22 blinks per minute. With VDT use, the blink rate drops to a range between 3-7 blinks per minute. Additionally, the typical posture while using a VDT tends to open the eye lids wider and exposes more ocular surface area, promoting more evaporation and potentially creating inefficient blinks. End result is
  • Near Field of View Eye Muscle Strain – Typical resting viewing distance is approximately 14 to 20 feet away. To focus on objects nearer requires flexion of both the intra-ocular eye muscles
  • Quality of Light
  • Glare and Visual Noise

 

GUNNAR ADVANCED COMPUTER EYEWEAR: A SOLUTION FOR VISUAL ERGONOMICS

Acknowledgements

This page should serve as a brief overview of the principles of Visual Ergonomics, but is not a comprehensive guide. We acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Jeffrey Anshel and his work in the field here. To learn more, we encourage you to read his two books related to the subject “Visual Ergonomics in the Workplace” and “Visual Ergonomics Handbook”.

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