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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Oct;23(5):1190-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Effects of visually demanding near work on trapezius muscle activity.

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Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Sweden.


Poor visual ergonomics is associated with visual and neck/shoulder discomfort, but the relation between visual demands and neck/shoulder muscle activity is unclear. The aims of this study were to investigate whether trapezius muscle activity was affected by: (i) eye-lens accommodation; (ii) incongruence between accommodation and convergence; and (iii) presence of neck/shoulder discomfort. Sixty-six participants (33 controls and 33 with neck pain) performed visually demanding near work under four different trial-lens conditions. Results showed that eye-lens accommodation per se did not affect trapezius muscle activity significantly. However, when incongruence between accommodation and convergence was present, a significant positive relationship between eye-lens accommodation and trapezius muscle activity was found. There were no significant group-differences. It was concluded that incongruence between accommodation and convergence is an important factor in the relation between visually demanding near work and trapezius muscle activity. The relatively low demands on accommodation and convergence in the present study imply that visually demanding near work may contribute to increased muscle activity, and over time to the development of near work related neck/shoulder discomfort.


Accommodation; Computer work; Electromyography; Gaze stabilization; Visual ergonomics

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