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New Study Finds That Use of Ergonomic Microscopes Can Reduce Risk of Workplace Injury, Benefiting Users

Mar 30, 2001

Nikon Eclipse E400 Microscopes Used in Study

Technologists, diagnosticians and others who sit at microscopes for prolonged periods can sometimes suffer workplace injuries because of awkward positions, movements and postures. But a recent study published in the Proceedings of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and the Human Factors Ergonomics Society (HFES) 2000 Congress shows that users of certain new ergonomically designed microscopes reduce their risk of suffering from a variety of painful musculoskeletal disorders.

The study was done by ergonomy experts Tamara James, Sabrina Lamar and Tracy Marker of Duke University and Medical Center, along with Linda Frederick of West Virginia University. They studied full time cytotechnologists, who used traditional, non-adjustable microscopes to screen slides for cancer and infectious conditions up to eight hours a day.

Five types of musculoskeletal measurements, along with photographic analysis and written descriptions of discomfort and pain, were used to analyze the risk of using traditional microscopes. These data were then compared with results from using a newly designed Nikon Eclipse E400 clinical ergonomic microscope, equipped with a tilting and telescopic head, optional riser tubes, one-handed focus control capability, and in-line focusing.

The study found that the users were significantly more comfortable in the neck and shoulders when using the Nikon ergonomically designed microscopes. In addition, eye fatigue decreased slightly, and there were improvements in elbow flexion and overall comfort. The participants in the study eagerly adapted to the new microscopes, and the study concluded that ergonomically designed microscopes may reduce the risk factors for work-related disorders, and benefit individuals who use microscopes on the job.

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