The uncounted Utahns who work every day in front of computer terminals should know they are risking certain kinds of injuries and maladies, the state Safety Council warned.
The maladies include eyestrain, headaches, lower back pain, numbness and tingling in the hand.The most serious condition is called carpal tunnel syndrome and can be severe enough to require surgery, Safety Council Director Robert F. Parenti said Monday.
Pain in the hands may be symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by compression of the median nerve in the hand as it passes through the carpal tunnel, a channel in the wrist.
There are several simple things computer users can do to lessen the symptoms, Parenti said:
- Position the keyboard correctly. Your arms should form a comfortable 90 degree right angle.
- Place the screen no higher than eye level to minimize eye movement. It should be tilted back about 10-20 degrees for easier viewing (provided that does not increase glare) and it should be about 18 inches from your eyes.
- Adjust the height of your chair to alleviate excessive pressure on your legs from the edge of the seat.
- Position the backrest to fit comfortably in the small of your back to provide good support.
- Compensate for reflections on the screen by adjusting the brightness and contrast controls. Eliminate any intense light source shining in your eyes or producing glare on the screen. For instance, change the angle of the screen or adjust blinds to block direct daylight coming through the window.
- Take breaks. Look away from your screen, stretch, get up and move around. If possible, alternate between computer and non-computer tasks.
- Have an eye exam periodically. Visual fatigue associated with video display terminals can often be tracked to uncorrected or improperly corrected vision problems.