Symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders in ophthalmologists

Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jan;139(1):179-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2004.06.091.


Objective: To describe the presence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the neck, low back, and upper extremity among ophthalmologists.

Design: Survey.

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain / diagnosis*
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • New England / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology* / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Self Disclosure