System For Computer Users ®
Gary Vogel, OD
Today's work place,
family entertainment, and even household tasks often requires some degree of
computer use. For some, this involves short but frequent periods of use, for
others computer use entails long hours of word processing, database entry, or
programming. Studies have shown that approximately 10 million people seek an
eye examination specifically due to computer related concerns. Headaches, blurred
vision, eye strain, and focusing difficulty are frequently reported by those
workers who use computers as part of their job or hobby.
The Computer Industry
Forecast reports that there are about 100 million computer users in the work
place. This figure does not include the millions of home users and computer
game players. Similar estimates indicate that in the US, over 600,000 patients
per month present to eye care professional with computer related symptoms. Unfortunately,
almost 21% of these patients do not receive a correct diagnosis and treatment
plan. (1 - VDTS and Your Health - Computers In Eye Care)
To date, most
eye care professionals evaluate their patient's visual skills and functions
using standard eye examination techniques to measure refractive error, focusing
skills, eye coordination, and other visual skills. External variables such as
glare, lightning, posture, head position, etc. are all easily controlled and
well standardized in the examination room. They then attempt to extrapolate
the results of these visual tests into the computer environment. Unfortunately,
factors like glare, posture, and long term fatigue may not be same in the computer
environment as they are in the testing environment. To accurately evaluate a
patient's visual skills at the computer screen, an on screen testing method
is needed that can be administered directly in the patient's work environment.
The Eye-Computer Ergonomic Evaluation (Eye-CEE) System for Computer Users ®
is a new software program that attempts to fill this well needed testing niche.
The Eye-CEE program
is a Windows based software program that performs an extensive on screen assessment
of a computer user's visual performance while actually using the computer. The
program was developed in London at the City University Department of Optometry
and Visual Science by Dr. W. David Thomson.
with an extensive on screen survey that asks in depth questions about any visual
discomfort, blur, back, neck, arm or wrist pain/discomfort, as well as questions
about the computer display, lighting, glare, and general layout of the work
station. The responses to the questionnaire are then analyzed and the results
of the survey are reviewed on screen.
The actual visual
testing begins next. Several visual skills are tested:
Acuity is evaluated using a series of varying sized letter C's. The user
is asked to specify which direction the opening points.
Scan, and Tracking Skills are evaluated using both a letter search task
and a grid search task. Accuracy and search time are used to evaluate the
results of these two tests. Decreased eye movement ability, focusing skills,
uncorrected refractive error, or eye coordination deficiencies can all cause
decreased performance on these tasks and make computer use difficult.
Balance is evaluated by asking the user to align two red and green circles
on the screen while wearing red/green glasses. The test is repeated in five
different gaze positions and with each eye fixating.
4. Eye Coordination
is evaluated using a test procedure using red and green lines in both horizontal
and vertical directions. The results reflect the amount of visual stress the
eye coordination system can tolerate in the computer environment.
or depth perception is evaluated using computer generated random dot stereogram.
Although stereopsis is not a critical skill for visual performance on a flat
computer screen, it is an overall measure of the user's quality of binocular
6. The central
15 degrees (approximately) Visual Fields are checked for gross blind spots.
The testing procedure uses a multiple stimulus screening technique. This is
not a test for eye disease or clinical diagnosis but rather a method for determining
if the user has any blind areas that would prevent him/her from seeing the
entire computer screen.
7. The final
procedure rates the user's Subject Impression of the readability of
the text display. The font is increased until the user describes the screen
text as "easy" to read.
The results of
the tests and the initial survey are analyzed and optionally displayed on screen
or can be printed. If the health care administrator does not want the employee
to see the test results, the screen display can be blocked. Tests results are
presented in an easy to understand format and do not require the analysis of
a qualified medical or eye care professional for evaluation. Several screen
pages of information are then available which discuss the results, potential
implication for weak visual areas, and possible remedies. Information is also
included describing ways to reduce screen glare and increase postural comfort
that is based on the results of the initial questionnaire. There is also an
Administrative Menu that allows the Administrator to custom tailor the testing
procedures and recommendations for his/her specific workplace.
I found this software
easy to use and follow with minimal use of the manual. Installing the software
through Windows was straightforward. On screen commands and instructions were
simple. A non-health care professional could easily self administer this test
and bring the results back for review by the Health and Safety Administrator.
I have always thought that one hallmark of well written software is the user's
ability to install and run the program without referring to the manual or on
screen help files. This program certainly meets that requirement.
can fill many niches in the workplace. For example, a computer using employee
with vague complaints during computer use could be given a copy of the testing
software and instructed to do the test in his or her own workstation. The results
could then be returned to the office for the Administrator to review and analyze.
If an eye examination is recommended, a report can be generated to accompany
the employee to their examination. A second report, which the doctor fills out
with results of the test, can accompany the employee.
has many direct applications in the corporate environment. With this software,
the Health and Safety Administrator can offer on screen visual testing for all
computer users in corporate setting. Pre-employment physicals can include a
comprehensive on screen visual evaluation allowing an employer to know if a
perspective employee has the visual capabilities to handle long term computer
use. The employer can also use the software to document pre-employment visual
status at the computer to ward off future claims of eye changes/damages from
long term computer use. The administrator who is knowledgeable in the use of
this software can work directly with the employer to maintain employee productivity,
decrease workers compensation claims and assure a healthy workplace.
Jeffrey Anshel, OD
Corporate Vision Consulting
842 Arden Drive
Encinitas, CA. 92024
Gary L. Vogel, OD, FAAO
3540 North Belt West Suite C
Belleville, Illinois 62221
of this review has no financial or other interest in Corporate Vision Consulting
or the Eye-CEE System software. The author has received no financial or other
compensation for writing this review.