International Ophthalmology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 769–775 | Cite as

National survey of back & neck pain amongst consultant ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom

  • Jonathan N. HyerEmail author
  • Richard M. Lee
  • Haziq R. Chowdhury
  • Henry B. Smith
  • Anish Dhital
  • Mona Khandwala
Original Paper


Repetitive tasks, awkward or prolonged working postures, and high cognitive load are risk factors for occupational musculoskeletal disorders. Ophthalmologists may be vulnerable given that they are exposed to a combination of these factors. This national study assesses the prevalence, severity and associations of back and neck pain amongst UK consultant ophthalmologists. A postal survey was conducted using addresses supplied by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Statistical analysis was performed using Pearson correlation coefficient, two-tailed probability testing, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Dunn’s multiple comparison test. 518 responses were received (50.3 % response rate). Back and neck pain were reported by 50.6 % (262/518) and 31.8 % (165/518) of respondents, respectively, with 62.4 % (323/518) reporting one or both. 33.6 % (174/518) reported pain whilst operating, of whom 78.7 % (137/174) found operating exacerbated their pain. 31.7 % (164/518) reported pain when using the slit lamp, of whom 71.3 % (117/164) found it exacerbated their pain. Individual subspecialties showed a significant relative risk of back or neck pain in some circumstances, when compared to ophthalmologists as a whole. Occupational back and neck pain remains a problem amongst ophthalmologists. Recommendations are made for modifications to the working environment, and consideration should be given to improving education for trainees.


Pain Neck Back Musculoskeletal Occupational health 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Philip Jeffs, physiotherapist at Maidstone Hospital.

Supplementary material

10792_2015_36_MOESM1_ESM.doc (84 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 84 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan N. Hyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard M. Lee
    • 1
  • Haziq R. Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Henry B. Smith
    • 1
  • Anish Dhital
    • 1
  • Mona Khandwala
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyMaidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Maidstone HospitalKentUK

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