Optometry - a comfortable job for life: a review

1 March 2012
Volume 13, Issue 1

Practical tips on avoiding ophthalmic work-related discomfort.

Introduction 

Work-related discomfort is experienced by many optometrists and this can have high personal and financial costs for individuals and for business. This is a multifaceted problem with many contributing factors. Although individuals can apply simple interventions such as adjusting their posture or performing exercises, the problem is best addressed in a systematic way and should involve the whole profession – clinicians, students, academics, professional bodies and industry. 

This paper outlines the current knowledge of ophthalmic work-related discomfort. It also discusses approaches optometrists can adopt to reduce the risk of discomfort for themselves and others so that compliance is achieved with work health and safety legislation. Practical examples illustrate how risk management plans can be implemented within optometry practice and how optometrists can predict potential issues before designing consultation rooms and purchasing equipment. 

Optometrists in teaching roles, both within academic institutions and in private practice, have an opportunity to be role models for students by offering advice if students are placing themselves at risk of work-related discomfort, giving students exposure to examples of good practice and being open to improvements within their own practices. This may reduce the incidence and impact of work-related discomfort in future generations of optometrists.

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