Utilizing exam lane best practices can not only improve the function of your ophthalmic practice, it can also benefit your physical health.
Most optometrists experience some kind of work-related physical discomfort on a daily basis. The neck, shoulders, and back are the most common problem areas. Not surprisingly, many experience repetitive stress injuries from the job. Research shows that clinical tasks, such as slit-lamp examinations, contribute to this discomfort.
Aside from avoiding repetitive tasks working while injured, it's also important to take preventive measures to avoid injury in the first place.
So, What Should You Do to Prevent Injury?
Frist, ask yourself these questions about your exam lane:
- Is this comfortable?
- Does it maximize efficiency?
- How can your exam lane be improved overall?
To learn more about how you develop specific injuries in the optometry field, you might want to consult a specialist, such as an occupational therapist or even an ergonomist. These therapists perform job analyses to make sure you make effective changes before an injury occurs or worsens.
Additional Strategies to Prevent Repetitive Motion Disorders as an Optometrist
1.Pay attention to your body. Relax your shoulders and keep your elbows tight and close to your core. If you're using loose lenses, it's best to keep a neutral wrist position instead of pinching the lenses.
2.Make sure to stretch and adjust as much as possible when you are working. Don't sit in the same position for too long especially if it's an awkward position.
3.Pay attention to when you use technology. Holding on to instruments for long periods of time can be uncomfortable and have negative side effects over time.
4.Pay attention to your posture. Notice how you position yourself in the chair when you're sitting, or how you stand.
5.Put your best foot forward. Long periods of sitting or standing can take a toll on your shoulders and your lower back. Make sure you are walking around when you can and stretching. Being stiff is only going to cause injuries.
6.Take breaks. Taking breaks is an important part of keeping yourself limber and loose. It's important for your mental state as well.
Changes in a woman's body during pregnancy can put more strain in muscles and ligaments.
Often, pregnancy results in pressure on your lower back, and it may be in your best interest to reorganize your exam room to make maneuvering easier for you. For example, it can help to elevate the patient when you're pregnant. Try to bend as little as possible so the weight of the baby doesn't impact your lower back.
Being in your third trimester puts you at more of a risk for discomfort. Standing for long periods of time can cause dizziness and lower back discomfort. This is why taking breaks becomes even more important when you're pregnant.
Always Take Precaution
Take some time to ask your staff members if they experience discomfort in a particular certain exam room. If you are both uncomfortable in one of the rooms, it’s time to make adjustments.
As time goes on, make sure to keep making changes in order to continually prevent and minimize discomfort.