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Are there official studies done on the negative effects of computer usage on our health?
Computers have become necessary tools to people and most of us use it every day. Can you cite official studies done on the negative effects of prolonged computer usage on our health. What is the recommended maximum time per day that a person should be using a computer?
Sep 29, 2011
As most of us now use computers for both entertainment and work purposes, and the time that we spend staring at the monitor all day has significantly increased, trying to find out if there may be detrimental effects to our health for doing so is always a good idea.
There have been several studies done on the possible physical effects of being tied down to a computer all day can do to you. I'll try to enumerate as much as I can.
Eyesight and Vision Problems – A study by the American Optometric Association (http://www.aoa.org/documents/EffectsComputerUse.pdf ) has found that many people who use computers for their work suffer from eye strain, pains in the neck and shoulders, blurred vision and headaches with prolonged computer use. Although such symptoms also arise from other lines of work that are deemed as visually demanding, and that the symptoms that do occur in individuals that often use a computer vary widely depending on the subject's visual ability and the demand of the task at hand, the fact that computer monitors are more visually taxing can lead to eyesight problems.
Oftentimes, these symptoms generally disappear after stopping computer work, and any persistent eye strain or blurred vision may indicate a larger problem and if nothing is done to address these symptoms, this may lead to further damage along the line.
The belief that computer monitors give off radiation that can potentially be harmful to one's vision has not been confirmed though, and modern computer monitors generally fall way below the level that could be considered harmful.
Proper lighting conditions and ergonomic design of the workplace may alleviate these problems, and proper eyeglasses (as regular eye-wear are usually not designed to prevent strain from computer work) should prevent those suffering from already existing vision problems from damaging their eyesight further.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) or the sudden numbness and pain of the median nerve that travels through the wrist via the carpal tunnel has usually been popularly attributed to working on a keyboard all day long. Recent studies have shown however (http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/CarpalTunnelSyndrome.aspx and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060206233655.htm ) that although the root cause of CPS is still not precisely known, the part that prolonged computer use plays in the development of the syndrome has largely been debunked.
The study has said that even up to seven hours of tying on a keyboard does not increase the risk of contracting this highly painful disorder, which has been found to be more prevalent in those that do assembly line work (which involves repetitive actions that can cause strain). Also it seems that genetics, pregnancy, and the presence of diseases such as diabetes or arthritis can play a factor. Being overweight also doubles the risk of contracting CTS
Computer Related Stress – Not exactly limited to working on computers per se, but stress from using new technology (or not knowing how to use new technology) can have a great impact in our health. A study has shown (http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/management-standards.pdf ) that stress in the workplace can severely affect our body's immune system and leave us vulnerable to disease.
As anyone that has been working with a computer knows that loss of work due to crashes or errors, inability to fix computer problems, and a machine that performs slowly can cause a lot frustration that may very well lead to loss of productivity. Proper stress management and getting adequate help when faced with errors can prevent us from too much frustration.
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