Workplace interventions to prevent musculoskeletal and visual symptoms and disorders among computer users: A systematic review

  • Shelley Brewer
  • Dwayne Van Eerd
  • Benjamin C. Amick IIIIII
  • Emma Irvin
  • Kent M. Daum
  • Fred Gerr
  • J. Steven Moore
  • Kim Cullen
  • David RempelEmail author
Original Paper


Background: The literature examining the effects of workstation, eyewear and behavioral interventions on musculoskeletal and visual symptoms among computer users is large and heterogeneous. Methods: A systematic review of the literature used a best evidence synthesis approach to address the general question “Do office interventions among computer users have an effect on musculoskeletal or visual health?” This was followed by an evaluation of specific interventions. Results: The initial search identified 7313 articles which were reduced to 31 studies based on content and quality. Overall, a mixed level of evidence was observed for the general question. Moderate evidence was observed for: (1) no effect of workstation adjustment, (2) no effect of rest breaks and exercise and (3) positive effect of alternative pointing devices. For all other interventions mixed or insufficient evidence of effect was observed. Conclusion: Few high quality studies were found that examined the effects of interventions in the office on musculoskeletal or visual health.


Office Ergonomics Interventions Systematic review Computers Musculoskeletal Visual 



This project was sponsored in part by the Institute for Work & Health, an independent not-for-profit research organization. The Institute receives ongoing support and received direct funding for this review from the Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board. The authors wish to thank: Donald Cole for quality control check, Jonathan Tyson for comments on the report, the assistance of Quenby Mahood, Krista Nolan, and Dan Shannon for obtaining bibliographic information and other materials; Jane Gibson, Tony Culyer, Evelyne Michaels, Kiera Keown, and Cameron Mustard for their editorial advice; and Shanti Raktoe for administrative support. Shelley Brewer is supported by an Occupational Injury Prevention Training Grant (T42 OH008421) from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelley Brewer
    • 1
  • Dwayne Van Eerd
    • 2
  • Benjamin C. Amick IIIIII
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Emma Irvin
    • 2
  • Kent M. Daum
    • 4
  • Fred Gerr
    • 5
  • J. Steven Moore
    • 6
  • Kim Cullen
    • 2
  • David Rempel
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.The University of Texas, School of Public HealthSouthwest Center for Occupational and Environmental HealthHoustonUSA
  2. 2.The Institute for Work & HealthTorontoCanada
  3. 3.The University of Texas, School of Public HealthDivision of Health Promotion and Behavioral SciencesHoustonUSA
  4. 4.University of Alabama-BirminghamSchool of OptometryBirminghamUSA
  5. 5.University of Iowa, College of Public HealthDepartment of Environmental and Occupational HealthIowa CityUSA
  6. 6.Texas A & M University Health Science Center, Rural School of Public HealthDepartment of Environmental & Occupational HealthCollege StationUSA
  7. 7.Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaRichmondUSA

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