The aim of the study was to determine knowledge, attitude, perception and prevention practices of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) among academic staff of Mzuzu University.
Methodology and materials
This was a cross-sectional descriptive study among academic staff of Mzuzu University, in Malawi and was conducted in the month of July 2017. Sixty-four participants recruited from a population of 180 academic staff through simple random selection, responded to both, open and closed -ended questions in a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, Response Averages and Cross tabulation from SPSS version 20.0 and Microsoft excel 2016 were used for analysis.
About 33% of the participants had knowledge of CVS. Headache and eye strain were the most commonly experienced symptoms reported. All the participants knew that phones, tablets, computers and laptops can cause CVS. Participants’ attitude and perception of CVS, showed a rather positive, satisfactory and favorable response. The RA value of ‘any person is in danger of getting CVS’ was 2.97 (SD 1.533). The RA value for ‘one can lose a job if he/she tells others they have CVS’ was 4.42, (SD 1.378) while for ‘why bother about CVS prevention, everyone is going to retire anyway’ was 4.44 (SD 1.153). The results indicate that the majority of the participants had positive perception towards CVS. Participants’ knowledge and CVS prevention practices, about (80%) reported taking regular visual breaks with (69%) taking breaks after approximately 40 minutes working on the computer while 11% took at least 30minutes. About (9.4%) said the computer screen is positioned 20cm away, while (32.8%) put it 40cm away. Just over half (57.8%) said they did not have a specific distance at which they put their computer screen. Eighty-three percent reported positioning the computer at eye level while 17% put it at an angle. A good number (45%) said Mzuzu University is silent on CVS matters while (55%) said were not sure of what the University is doing towards CVS prevention. Forty-two percent of the participants strongly indicated that there was need for ergonomics team to come and evaluate the working place.
The study found out that Mzuzu University academic staff members have low knowledge levels, high positive attitude and favorable perceptions of CVS. There is lack of awareness of CVS and visual ergonomics at the university. This study was carried among those the society considers most knowledgeable however they had low knowledge of CVS. This emphasizes the need for awareness and education about CVS and its prevention amongst computer users all over world.