This website is best viewed in a browser that supports web standards.
Skip to content or, if you would rather, Skip to navigation.
ERGONOMICS - The study of the design and arrangement of equipment so that people will interact with the equipment in a healthy, comfortable and efficient manner. As related to computer equipment, ergonomics is concerned with such factors as the physical design of the keyboard, screens and related hardware, and the manner in which people interact with these hardware devices. ~ Free On-line Dictionary of Computing
Technology-related Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) are caused by the repetitive motion required for accomplishing computing tasks. CTDs do not develop overnight, but gradually occur and are only noticeable after weeks, months or even years of work at a computer involving improper use of muscles, tendons, nerves and joints. Common complaints of users who spend long hours at their computers are headache and neck, shoulder, wrist and hand pain.
Lack of motion can also lead to additional aches, pains and stiffness since computer users tend to be immobile for long periods of time.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a CTD that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.
Approximately 3 to 5 percent of the population has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to repetition of motion needed for computing tasks. It causes numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.
When notebook computers first were designed, ergonomics* were not taken into account. Notebook computers were designed originally to be short-term travel options and not meant to be the primary computer a user would work at daily. However, today, due to expansion of wireless services and the greater desirability for the convenience of mobile computing, notebook computers are becoming the primary computer for many users. Notebook computers are extremely popular on university campuses around the country and the potential for users to develop aches, pains and ultimately a CTD is much higher due to the notebook computer's smaller size and portability.
Notebook computer users should take various preventative measures, including:
Early detection and prevention cannot be stressed enough. Complete recovery from a CTD is common when the injury is treated promptly and preventative measures are put in place and practiced. Stretching exercises should be performed at least every hour, including:
As defined by the American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome is the "complex of eye and vision problems related to near work", which are experienced during or related to computer use. Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches, increased sensitivity to light, double or blurred vision, difficulty shifting focus between the computer monitor and paper documents and other vision problems. Eye problems also can result from sitting too close to your monitor, working too long without resting your eyes, not blinking frequently enough, inadequate lighting, too much lighting and poor contrast or refresh rate on a computer screen.
Whenever possible, do the following to prevent potential vision problems:
Questions about computing CTD prevention, contact the Information Systems - Client Computing Office at 660-562-1634.
Think you may be developing a CTD, contact the University Wellness Center at 660-562-1348.
The Computer User's Guide to an Ergonomic Workstation
Use this website to find information about ergonomic issues dealing with workspace design and computer/desk exercises. The handbook was produced to provide users with information on how to reduce CTDS associated with computer usage.