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Computer Ergonomics: Making Computer Usage Safe

21 September 2023

We can't imagine our lives without computers today! Most of the jobs that once required a ton load of manual work require the use of a computer and can now be completed in literally a fraction of the time! We can't thank technology enough for giving us computers. We've become heavily reliant on these machines to get our work done.

As much as computers have helped us simplify tasks and save time, they've also put us at risk of numerous health conditions. Excessive usage of computers has severe health consequences that, if not addressed on time, can interfere with your ability to work as well as you're capable.

The good news is that you can protect yourself from risks associated with excessive computer usage. All you need to do is evaluate how computer usage is affecting you.

Many people don't take risks associated with computer usage seriously because they don't experience any problems, but that doesn't reduce the risk for them. It's only a matter of time till they start noticing the consequences.

This blog post highlights how excessive computer usage affects your health and well-being, what computer ergonomics are, and how you can make computer usage safe.

How Excessive Computer Usage Affects Your Health

Most people use computers for several hours at a stretch every day. What's worse is that they aren't conscious about their sitting posture and other work conditions, and all of these factors combine to affect your health more than you can ever imagine. You may not have any choice when it comes to reducing your computer usage, but you certainly can and should work towards improving the work conditions and computer ergonomics to protect yourself from the numerous health risks of excessive computer usage.

Below are some of the biggest health risks of excessive computer usage:

Back and Neck Pain

Most people use the computer while sitting, and most of the time, they're seated in an incorrect posture. Their computers aren't placed at the right height, distance, or angle from them, which makes them sit in awkward postures to be able to see the computer properly. This puts strain on the neck and back and causes back and neck pain. This is most common when the computer screen is placed too low, which makes the user bend their neck forward, or is placed too high, forcing the user to raise their neck and stiffen their shoulders.

Eye Strain

The glare from the computer screen can cause eye strain, leading to headaches and blurred vision. If the computer isn't positioned correctly, either too close to the eyes or too far, it also affects the eyes. If the computer screen is too close to the eyes, it makes the light from the screen shine directly onto the eyes, and if it's too far, it puts strain on the eyes to help them focus on the screen's content, both of which can lead to headaches and migraines. Eye strain can also cause blurred vision and even the weakening of eyesight.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Another major risk of excessive computer usage is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If your keyboard and mouse aren't placed right, you're at a massive risk of this syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful condition that occurs when the median nerve running through the wrist is compressed, which is the case when you use a keyboard and mouse that are placed at an inappropriate height. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by numbness and tingling in the fingers that make it difficult to use the fingers.

Dry Eyes

The next time you use a computer, observe how often you blink your eyes. According to research, you blink your eyes 66% less when using the computer, which can lead to dry eyes. Blinking promotes the production of tears that keeps the eyes moist, but when you don't blink, tears are produced less, and your eyes become dry. If you don't address the problem, your vision may become blurred.

Improving Computer Ergonomics

Did you know computer usage puts you at risk of this many health conditions? Well, we did, which is why we told you in the beginning not to take computer ergonomics lightly. All computer-related health risks are due to poor posture while using the computer and the wrong placement of the computer screen and other equipment. All of these wrong practices result in cumulative trauma and repetitive strain injury.

The good news is that you can improve computer ergonomics and make computer usage safe. Below are some ways in which you can do it:

Use a Height-Adjustable Work Desk

The first way of improving computer ergonomics and making computer usage safe is using a height-adjustable work desk. The benefit of a height-adjustable ergonomic desk over a regular work desk is that every user can adjust the height of the desk to ensure the computer screen, keyboard, and mouse are placed at an appropriate height.

Ideally, it would help if you weren't sitting with your arms and shoulders raised awkwardly and your wrists bent, which is the case when your work desk is too high for you. It would be best if you also didn't use a computer with your head bent forward and your back curved, which is the case when your work desk is too low for you. In short, an ergonomic work desk will ensure a correct posture while you use the computer and reduce the risk of neck and shoulder pain and other work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Use an Ergonomic Chair

An ergonomic chair can also help you improve computer ergonomics. An ergonomic chair provides superior support to the back with its flexible backrest. The armrests provide support to the elbows and ensure that they're at 90 degrees to the arm and close to the body. Having your elbows dangling in the air without support puts stress on the shoulder, neck, and arm muscles, which can lead to shoulder, neck, and arm pain. The best feature of an ergonomic chair is its height adjustability, which ensures you're able to adjust the height of the chair to suit your height so that you don't have to sit in an incorrect posture throughout the while you're using the computer. Moreover, adjusting the seat height also ensures your feet are placed flat on the floor (parallel to the floor). If your feet aren't placed correctly. It'll affect the blood flow to and from the legs and may cause painful swelling in the feet.

Install an Adjustable Monitor Mount

The most promising way of making computer usage safe is installing an adjustable monitor mount like the Intelligent Monitor Arm with Docking Station MD01. An adjustable monitor mount lets you adjust the height of the computer screen to ensure that it's at an eye-level. It also lets you adjust the distance between the computer screen and yourself to ensure the screen isn't too close to your eyes or too far away. Moreover, you can also adjust the angle or tilt of the computer screen. All of these factors minimize the glare and eye strain from prolonged use of the computer.

Install Anti-Glare Screen Cover

You can also make computer usage safe by installing an anti-glare screen cover on your computer monitor. It's a specially designed screen cover installed over the computer screen to reduce the glare, which reduces eye strain and the risk of headaches, migraine, and other eye strain-related conditions.

Use an Ergonomic Mouse and Keyboard

One of the biggest risks of excessive computer usage is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to excessive strain on the median nerve that travels through the wrist. This is usually due to repetitive movements of the fingers and wrists during typing and using the mouse. You can greatly reduce the strain on the wrist and fingers by replacing your keyboard and mouse with ergonomic options.

An ergonomic keyboard is designed in a unique manner to encourage the natural placement of the fingers while typing. The keys are also softer. Some ergonomic keyboards also have padded wrist support. An ergonomic mouse is equipped with highly sensitive and soft keys as well that don't require you to press the keys too hard.

Final Word

Looking at the situation today, we certainly can't reduce computer usage. Most of the tasks have been computerized today, and going back to the conventional method isn't an option. Computers are nothing short of a blessing. Just because computer usage is associated with certain health risks doesn't mean we should stop using computers. Your best bet at making the most of computers today is to take the necessary steps to minimize the risks and make computer usage safe for you.

Improving computer ergonomics may seem like a lot of work, but if you look at the bigger picture, the long-term benefits make efforts and money invested worth it!