Microscope users often report eye fatigue and back, neck and shoulder discomfort associated with the postures required while using the microscope.
Issues to be examined in relation to microscope use include:
- problem awareness in the user
- appropriately trained personnel
- providing microscopes with ergonomic features
- providing ergonomic workstations
- variety within the work process
- regular breaks in posture.
- The viewing height and angle of the microscope should be adjusted to the user-variable binocular tube.
- The position of controls such as zoom and focus should be as far down as possible on the microscope and should be operated with the forearms supported in a horizontal position and shoulders relaxed.
- Chairs should have high backs with adjustable height, back rest and lumbar support to contour to the user’s back.
- An adjustable microscopy table height or suitable footrest may be required.
- Arm and hand supports are required for use when positioning, manipulating and preparing objects.
- High-quality lens systems and eyepieces that reduce fatigue and long-term eye strain are desirable.
- Matching room lighting to the microscope field brightness to reduce eye strain.
- Frequent breaks away from the microscope with physical stretches to relieve static sitting postures should be performed.
UWA Safety and Health can supply information to help minimise physical stress associated with prolonged use of microscopes by considering organisation of work, assessment of the microscopic and the work environment.