Improving microscope ergonomics is not just about improving comfort of the operator, but has many benefits to the organisation such as reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity.
What is ‘ergonomic’?
‘Ergonomics’ is the science of designing environments and products to match the individuals who use them. Source: GGI Office Furniture (UK) Ltd. The word ‘ergonomics’ comes from the Greek words ‘ergon’ meaning ‘work’ and ‘nomos’ meaning ‘natural law’. The ergonomics of a microscope has a major impact on operator productivity, the resulting quality of work, as well as therefore incurring additional costs as a result of lost time, increased wastage, operator fatigue, or illness etc.
But an ergonomic microscope is not about improving adjusting the seat height, or eyepiece position to improve body position. Yes, microscope ergonomics concerns the comfort of the operator, but it also to do with improving eye fatigue, hand-to-eye co-ordination, efficiency and time saving, accuracy and error rates and many more factors.
Ergonomic working position
With greater emphasis on working conditions and occupational health practices prioritised increasingly in the work place, an ergonomic body position is fundamental in retaining comfort throughout the day. If using a microscope in the work place, an ergonomic position not only makes the instrument more comfortable, it is also less fatiguing and, more importantly, much easier to use. Additionally, optimal operator ergonomics minimises the risk of repetitive strain-related injuries.
Freedom of head movement
When viewing subjects under the microscope for any length of time, users often have to hold a fixed viewing position which can lead to stiffness in the neck muscles. A key benefit of Vision Engineering’s eyepiece-less optical technology is that users do not need to precisely align their eyes with the eyepieces. This freedom of movement allows the muscles to be more relaxed and so reduces associated neck and back strain associated with the fixed body position of conventional microscope eyepieces.
Not all “ergonomic” microscopes can offer the full range of ergonomic benefits that are possible with Vision Engineering’s eyepiece-less microscopes. That’s why businesses choose Vision Engineering’s unique ergonomic solutions because they know their operators will be more efficient, more accurate and more productive. So the operator benefits and so does the business.
A natural view of the subject
With traditional microscope eyepieces, operators must position their eyes very close to the eyepieces, blocking out ambient light. The intense light exiting the eyepieces causes the pupils to contract. Constant contraction and expansion of the pupils is the main cause of eye fatigue with microscopes. With eyepiece-less microscopes, users sit back from the viewing lens, allowing ambient light into the eyes. Additionally, the light exiting the eyepieces is spread over a larger area, providing a more natural view of the subject.
Ability to wear glasses
If operators using a microscope usually wear spectacles (glasses) for activities such as working at their PC, they often need to remove them when looking through a microscope so they can align their eyes correctly with the eyepieces. The advantage of the ‘eyepiece-less’ microscopes means operators can continue to use their glasses when inspecting or observing through the viewer. Operators do not need to remove their glasses (or safety glasses) to use the microscope.
Critical for re-work, repair, dissection and other manipulation tasks, hand-eye co-ordination is essential for these activities, particularly for accuracy and manoeuvrability of tools and subjects. With Vision Engineering’s patented microscope viewing heads, operators can sit back from the eyepieces, gaining a much better peripheral vision, so they can co-ordinate hands in a natural manner.