Proper Children’s School Furniture Is Important in Preventing Future Vision Problems
Vision Can Suffer in Classroom with Poor Ergonomics
While there is growing awareness that sitting improperly at a computer can cause problems with posture, cause back and neck pain, and interfere with circulation, there is less awareness about the vision problems that come with poor computer ergonomics. There is even a syndrome associated with computer use: computer vision syndrome or CVS.
This serious problem causes eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, and light sensitivity. In Ergonomics for School Children: Schoolbags, Furniture, Computers, Visual and Auditory, published by the University of Manitoba, the authors state, “Improper classroom conditions, poor work habits, and existing refractive errors lead to CVS.”
While it might not be immediately apparent why there is a close connection between poor computing conditions and vision problems, one very important factor is that people change their posture to alleviate eye strain. So when the height of the desk is incorrect for a child, for instance, he or she may lean closer and round the shoulders. If seated comfortably on children’s school furniture students will maintain a “neutral” posture. According to the University of Manitoba report, this posture should have the following characteristics:
- Eyes should be level with the text on the monitor.
- Hands and wrists should be straight.
- Neck should be slightly bent, and the head almost straight.
- Shoulders should be down and arms relaxed at the sides.
- Elbows level with the keyboard.
- Feet and lower back supported.
Having the correct school furniture to provide the correct seating position is vital. Another important tip is to encourage students to get up from the computer and walk around often - every 20 minutes or so. This may require a change in classroom decorum and classroom furniture arrangement, but teachers should be open to allowing movement in order to facilitate good body mechanics and vision.
Educating Children in Sound Ergonomic Principles Is Important
While students in class do not usually spend more than one period at a time using a computer, educating children about the importance of basic ergonomic principles should happen both at home and at school. Warning them about the dangers of prolonged sitting at the computer should be part of this education.
Children should understand that proper sitting is important. Teach them to sit squarely in the chair with feet resting on the floor. Keeping the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle is also good computer posture.
While not the only factor, prolonged computer use in inappropriate positions is thought by eye care specialists to put students at risk for progressive myopia. Being at the correct height for proper computer use can be attained by using an adjustable chair, such as the Inspiration Swivel Chair. This attractive chair features a very comfortable ergonomic seat. With its adjustable height and ability to swivel, this chair is a great choice for computer and science labs.
Hertz Furniture carries a large selection of ergonomically-appropriate school furniture. David Mocton, vice president of Client Relationships & Sales at Hertz Furniture, commented, “Our children are immersed in technology more and more. We have to be the ones to help them develop good habits. Hertz is proud to provide ergonomically correct classroom furniture, and we support those schools that are making this a priority.”
If you have any further questions or you'd like assistance in finding classroom seating and other children’s school furniture that will best suit your needs, feel free to contact a Hertz Furniture expert at 888-793-4999, or by chat between 9am-5pm Eastern Standard time.
*This article is based on a report published by the University of Manitoba: Ergonomics for School Children: Schoolbags, Furniture, Computers, Visual and Auditory