Visual display terminals (VDT) are standard equipment for many office workers. Their use, however, may increase the risk of developing adverse conditions related to vision, the musculoskeletal system, and mental health. We carried out a survey among 3070 workers aged 18 to 67 years (mean, 39.9 years) at a prefectural administrative office, in which 76% of subjects were visual display terminal (VDT) users. We examined the relationship between duration of daily VDT use and eyestrain, neck or upper extremity pain, back pain, and mental health, and estimated the effect of breaks and rest during VDT work on these symptoms. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12: total scores ranged from 0 to 12) was used to identify potential poor mental health status, and subjects with 4 or more were considered to have symptoms of psychological distress. Seventeen percent of subjects reported eyestrain, 19.1% reported upper extremity pain, 11.6% reported back pain, and 17% of subjects had GHQ-12 scores of 4 or higher. Logistic regression analysis showed that duration of daily VDT use and lack of breaks and rest during VDT work were significantly associated with eyestrain, neck or upper extremity pain, back pain, and psychological distress. In order to protect users from the adverse effects associated with VDT work, reducing daily VDT exposure, taking breaks, and rest during VDT work are important.
2007 Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology