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Eye Health Center

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Computer Error -- or Uncorrected Vision?

Small Vision Problems Lower Accuracy of Computer Work
WebMD Health News

March 5, 2004 -- The newest computer error message: Get your vision checked.

Even a small, uncorrected vision problem increases computer errors, a new study shows.

Kent Daum, PhD, OD, of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and colleagues tested 39 men and women on a variety of computer tasks. They performed these tasks -- such as telling "M" words from "N" words in 8-point type while sitting 20 inches from a 15-inch computer monitor -- while wearing glasses that either corrected or slightly warped their vision.

"Even when symptoms were not reported and the computer screen was seen clearly, we found differences in productivity and accuracy over time," Daum says in a news release. "The greater the miscorrection, the greater the decrease in productivity."

Errors significantly increased even when computer users' vision was just a little bit off, Daum's team found.

The loss in productivity ranged from 2.5% to 28.7%, depending on the task and the degree of vision miscorrection. For a company with hundreds or thousands of employees working on computers for many hours, Daum says, even a 2.5% loss in productivity adds up quickly.

Since it costs only about $300 to get an eye exam and the right glasses for computer work, the researchers suggest that companies would save a bundle by addressing the issue.

The findings appear in the January issue of Optometry.

SOURCE: Daum, K.M. Optometry, January 2004; vol 75: pp 33-47.

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