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