From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Can Ergonomics ‘Fix’ Certain Vision Problems?

Can ergonomics positively affect some of the concerns associated with poor vision? A pair of research studies published this week say yes.

In the first, researchers indicated that the small font size on prescription drug containers was making it difficult for some patients, particularly those with visual impairments, to read the dosage instructions. One hundred eighty patients whose average age was 70 were assessed to determine the point at which the patients would be unable to read the instructions without a magnifying glass. All of the patients had impaired eyesight in one or both eyes, although the level of impairment varied.

Researchers permitted the patients to bring the prescription drug bottle as close to their faces as necessary in order to read the instructions. Patients who took longer than 30 seconds to find a readable position for the bottle were then classified as “reading with great difficulty.”

Patients with relatively good eyesight (6/18 metric, approximately 20/50 visual acuity) were able to read the label rather quickly, said the researchers in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Two-thirds of the patients whose eyesight was in the 6/24 and 6/36 visual acuity range (20/80 to 20/120, approximately) were unable to read the instructions, and nearly all of the patients with vision with 6/60 visual acuity (20/200) were unable to read the instructions.

Overall, the participants, said the researchers, indicated that larger type would be better. Researchers determined that a more ergonomic font the size of Arial 22