Work-related Stress Could Cause Eye Strain

Researchers report that psychological factors such as self-esteem and co-worker\r\nconflict are significant contributors to workers' complaints of eye strain.

If you are suffering from eye strain it could be caused by work-related stress, according to Italian researchers. Researchers report that psychological factors such as self-esteem and co-worker conflict are significant contributors to workers'' complaints of eye strain.

"Job demands, physical and psychological, influence the severity and frequency of video display terminal operators'' health complaints," wrote Dr. Francesco Mocci of the University of Sassari, Italy, and colleagues in the April issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researchers note that previous studies have implicated psychological factors such as job demands in worker complaints of neck, shoulder, wrist and back pain, but few have examined complaints of eye strain.

The researchers surveyed 212 bank tellers about their job-related stress levels, their perceived self-esteem, their discomfort with the workplace environment, and whether they suffered from asthenopia, or eye strain.

Eye strain was defined as blurred vision, eye soreness or itching, double vision or tearing.

Factors such as work satisfaction, self-esteem and co-worker support were strongly correlated with the workers'' complaints of eye troubles, playing as much as a 30 percent role in their eye strain, according to the authors.

Meanwhile, the researchers calculated that only 4 percent of the participants'' eye strain was due to environmental factors such as smoke and noise, while lighting played no role at all.

"It has to be recognized that work stress can produce physical and emotional complaints," wrote the study authors.

Mocci and his colleagues suggested that future research should consider interventions encouraging collegial support, in an attempt to reduce workplace stress and further test the theory.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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