Purpose: To characterize the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), symptoms, and risk factors among ophthalmologists. Methods: An online survey was distributed to ophthalmologist members of the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. The survey consisted of 34 questions on respondent demographics, practice characteristics, pain, and effects of MSD on their practice patterns. Participants were excluded if they were not ophthalmologists or if they had MSD symptoms prior to the start of their ophthalmology career. Demographics and practice patterns were compared for those with or without MSD symptoms using the Welch t test and the Fisher exact test. Results: The survey was completed by 127 of 250 active members (response rate, 51%). Of the 127, 85 (66%) reported experiencing work-related pain, with an average pain level of 4/10. With regard to mean age, height, weight, years in practice, number of patients seen weekly, and hours worked weekly, there was no difference between respondents reporting pain and those without. Those reporting MSD symptoms spent significantly more time in surgery than those who did not (mean of 7.9 vs 5.3 hours/week [P < 0.01]). Fourteen percent of respondents reported plans to retire early due to their symptoms. Conclusions: A majority of respondents experienced work-related MSD symptoms, which was associated with time spent in surgery. Modifications to the workplace environment focusing on ergonomics, particularly in the operating room, may benefit ophthalmologists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas