Most doctors stick their necks out to help their patients. The result is neck and back that’s sometimes debilitating. In a study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and in similar studies conducted in the U.K. nearly 73% of eye doctors reported pain in the neck, back or both.

Your slit lamp, the major culprit, as it is usually positioned on the exam table, requires you to lean toward the instrument, and extend the neck out of alignment with the spine. This repetitive motion can happen 40- to 60-times a day in an average practice. Over time, this posture causes serious neck and back problems that can lead to excessive pain, surgery or early retirement. A few simple precautions can help.

Move the Slit Lamp

To alleviate the strain, modify the slit lamp table to move closer to you than to the patient. While the patient may be uncomfortable for a few minutes each year, the doctor can do the exam with less pain day after day.

Slow Down

Although the waiting room may be full of patients, spend the extra few seconds to properly position the patient to eliminate unnecessary craning or hunching.

Stretch Several times a day

. Take a few minutes and do neck and back stretches. See the Mayo Clinic videos for easy stretches you can do anywhere.

Give Your Slit Lamp an Adjustment

. Manufacturers also offer some pain-saving solutions, like an inclined adaptor that raises the viewing angle and keeps your head in a fatigue-free position. For more information, contact your equipment manufacturer or dealer. About that pain in the neck, don’t stand for it any longer.