ErgoPractice News – December 2019
Work-related neck pain is the most common issue among both dental professionals and surgeons. According to ACS Surgery News, 92.3% of clinicians experience working pain, and most of these reported pain is in the neck and lower back.1 Prolonged working pain can eventually lead to early retirement if undiagnosed and untreated. Additionally, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which may be caused by blue light with a cooler LED, can be an upcoming cause of vision loss for clinicians.2,3
Dr. Bethany Valachi, physical therapist and dental consultant, recommends that treating chronic neck pain should not be about just treating the symptoms, but also preventing the root causes.4 This involves a multi-faceted approach of periodic stretching, patient positioning, and operator positioning. A critical part of operator positioning involves the correct tools.
Working Posture & Eye Safety
If you use loupes in your work, you should evaluate your working posture while wearing loupes. Most loupe manufacturers say that their loupes are ergonomic loupes, but many of these loupes force users to excessively tilt the head during use, creating bad neck posture which leads to chronic neck pain and injury (Figure 1). There are no clear guidelines for selecting ergonomically-correct loupes and eye-safe LED headlights due to a lack of regulatory standards. Because of this, it is not easy for one to find ergonomically-correct loupes and eye-safe LED headlights. Even if you have not experienced serious neck pain, it is wise to check your working neck posture to prevent chronic neck pain from developing in the future. It can take 5 to 10 years for some people to experience pain, and by that point, a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) may already be present.
SurgiTel’s Free Evaluation Services
SurgiTel offers free evaluation services to help clinicians evaluate their loupes and LED headlights. There are two types of services we can offer. The first service is an in-office evaluation of your loupes and headlights, and the second is an educational seminar designed to help your class, club or group understand basic physical risks related to improper loupes and LED headlights.
The evaluation service includes measurement of head tilt angle, alignment of loupes to the line of sight, working distance and magnification check, and a comparison of LED headlights with a reference true color-neutral LED headlight (Figure 2). Many loupes sold as custom ergonomic TTL (through-the-lens) loupes are the main cause of chronic neck pain. Additionally, if loupes are not properly aligned with the line of sight, the quality of images will be reduced. Often, clinicians do not use the proper magnification power required to see the level of details for performing various procedures. As working distance increases, magnification power must be increased at a similar rate to see a minimum level of detail.
SurgiTel’s educational seminar on loupes and LED headlights is offered to groups such as hospitals, study clubs, and schools. This course reviews various functions of the eyes and issues related to loupes and LED headlights as vision-aid devices.
At the conclusion of this course, participants will understand and learn the following:
- How the eyes work as an optical system
- Defense mechanisms of eyes against harmful lights
- Ergonomic requirements of loupes to maintain a safe head tilt angle
- How to decide magnification power based on working distance and resolution required to see details
- How to measure head tilt angle
- How to make an operating site brighter without increasing headlight brightness by adjusting background lights
- Blue light hazard with cooler LED lights vs. correlated color temperature of beams
- Why neutral LED lights offer the best color accuracy and are safer for eyes
SurgiTel’s free services will evaluate the postures and LED headlights of all your team members. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local technical sales representative at www.surgitel.com/myrep.
- Chitnis, Deepak. “Operating with pain: Surgeon workplace injury underrecognized.” ACS Surgery News Apr. 2016: 1 . Print.
- OPINION of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety on the “effects on human health and the environment (fauna and flora)
of systems using light-emitting diodes (LEDs)”; ANSES Opinion Request No. 2014-SA-0253; Maisons-Alfort, 5 April 2019
- Fluent, Marie, DDS; Jack Ferracane, PhD; James Mace, DDS; Anjali Shah, MD; Richard Price, DBS, DDS, MS, FDS, RCS (Edin), FRCD (C), PhD. “Shedding
- Light on A Potential Hazard, Dental Light-Curing Units” JADA 2019: 150(12): 1051-1058
- Valachi, B. (2008). Practice Dentistry Pain-Free: Evidence-Based Strategies to Prevent Pain and Extend Your Career. Portland, OR: Posturedontics Press.