Objective: To describe the presence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the neck, low back, and upper extremity among ophthalmologists.
Methods: Mail survey using a pretested instrument to 2,529 ophthalmologists in the Northeastern United States; 697 ophthalmologists (28%) returned a completed survey.
Results: Self-reported prevalence of neck, upper body, or lower back symptoms in the prior month was 51.8%. Low back pain was present in 39% of respondents, followed by upper extremity symptoms (32.9%) and neck pain (32.6%). Approximately 15% of ophthalmologists were slightly to moderately limited in their work as a result of these symptoms.
Conclusion: MSD symptoms appear to be common among ophthalmologists. With a relatively low response rate, however, it is plausible that asymptomatic subjects represent a large percentage of the nonrespondents. Additional investigation is warranted to evaluate ergonomic risk factor exposure and establish injury prevention guidelines.