WASHINGTON (AFP) –
Blurry vision and wrist pain are among the well-known health perils of computer use, but a study released on Tuesday shows a rise in previously overlooked injuries due to computer equipment falling over.
Researchers found a 732-percent rise in “acute computer-related injuries” from 1994 through 2006, double the 309-percent increase in household computer ownership over the period, according to a study in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Young children are particularly at risk, it said.
Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database showed that over 78,000 such injuries, including large numbers of head injuries due to toppling computer monitors, were treated in US emergency rooms in the 13-year period.
Children under five had the highest injury rate, with the most common cause being tripping or falling, according to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Older children under 10 and seniors over age 60 also had elevated injury rates.
More than nine in 10 injuries occurred in the home, the Journal reported.
“Future research on acute computer-related injuries is needed as this ubiquitous product becomes more intertwined in our everyday lives,” Lara McKenzie of the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy said in a statement.
Monitor-related injuries surged in the first years of the study, from 11.6 percent of cases in 1994 to a peak of 37.1 percent in 2003. By 2006 the figure had dropped to 25.1 percent, as heavier cathode ray tube monitors were steadily replaced with lighter and easier-to-lift liquid crystal display monitors.
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