A critical appraisal of current knowledge and future directions of ergophthalmology: consensus document of the ICOH Committee on 'Work and Vision'

Ergonomics. 2003 Mar 15;46(4):384-406. doi: 10.1080/0014013031000067473.


In the past, occupational health gave scant attention to the visual apparatus. Studies on issues relating to 'work and vision' have predominantly addressed industrial accidents and the toxic effects of exposure to chemical and physical agents, with secondary prevention being more common than primary prevention. In recent years, the huge transformations implemented in workplaces, mainly due to computer-based technologies, demand a progressively higher efficiency of the eye and the related nervous system components that co-ordinate eye movements and accommodation. At the moment these aspects are managed by medical, psychosocial and a variety of technical disciplines, without any shared criteria, terminology and method. Objectives of the Committee are: to investigate holistically the many possible hazards associated to the occupational visual performance; to come to a consensus on terminology, risk assessment and health surveillance procedures. The present status of research and practice in ergophthalmology does not allow for clear-cut decision about health risk and nor is there a clear direction on the prevention of work-related ocular and visual disturbances and disorders. Specifically, at least three determinants must be objectively considered, namely: (a) visual effort; (b) environmental agents; (c) individual characteristics. Although criteria exist for the evaluation of some of these determinants, a greater refinement is necessary 'for a good working life' of the visual apparatus. The ICOH Scientific Committee on 'Work and Vision' is seeking to systematically develop this matter, yielding a more rational and complete approach to the relationship between work and vision.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Asthenopia / etiology
  • Asthenopia / psychology
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Eye Infections / etiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Health*
  • Ophthalmology / methods
  • Ophthalmology / trends*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology