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Health problems - Enemies of the IT/Software professional?

David S Hansen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 07, 2013
Posts: 30
In terms of risk to life, our profession is way more easy than hazardous professions such as armed forces, fire fighting, law enforcement, medicine etc.
However, we have our share of woes too -

1) Staring at screens almost all day long - Partial loss of vision.
2) Mostly sedentary lifestyle - Obesity, Hemorrhoids (eek!) etc
3) Often long hours of work - Stress (Stress leading to heart problems)
4) Minor wrist, finger and back problems.
5) Did I miss anything??? (Ok, besides bugs and bad designs )

I got glasses since I entered into IT. Stress is a minor issue, goes away with time. Never experienced the other problems.
What do we do to prevent or get rid of these problems ?


Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14266
    
  21

1. Many people assume that it's true that looking at a screen all day is bad for your eyes. I've heard that that's really a myth. You say you got glasses since you entered into IT, implying that there's a causal connection between the two. Maybe you needed glasses because you are getting older, or for some other reason. I've always had very sharp eyes and after 17 years looking at a monitor all day as a programmer my eyes are still very sharp.

2. Make sure you do regular physical exercise.

4. RSI (repetitive strain injury) is a well-known problem that people who work with a keyboard and mouse can get. I wouldn't say that those are "minor" problems. I haven't had anything like that myself, but I've seen people who really had serious problems with working with a keyboard and mouse, who had to take a break for several months.


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Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

++pasty white skin from never going outside. This deprives the body of Vitamin D

++ psychiatric issues since programmers are so introverted and into computers that they never meet normal people and have fun, sex, etc.
Seetharaman Venkatasamy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 28, 2008
Posts: 5575

if there is no tradeoff , no design
J. Kevin Robbins
Bartender

Joined: Dec 16, 2010
Posts: 998
    
  13

Blood clots. Seriously. Do yourself a favor and get out of the chair every hour or two and walk around a bit.

"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." -- Ted Nelson
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11401
    
  16

stained teeth from drinking too much coffee


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Bill Clar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 152

1) Computer readers lowered my eye strain.

2) Take breaks. Make a restroom stop one floor above or below and use the stairs.

Go for a walk on your lunch break if you can't make it to the gym.

3) Green or chamomile tea. Deep belly breaths are also relaxing.

Listen to some relaxing music or stand up comedy.

4) Splay your fingers as wide as possible; hold for 5 seconds. Clench your fist and hold for five seconds. Repeat 6-8 times.

Stretch your wrists in both directions.

5) I've noticed that a lot of people have back problems. There's a real easy, but tough, solution: sit up straight. Don't use the
back rest at all. If you really want a challenge (and if the workplace allows it) sit on an exercise ball. You may need to start slow
and work your way up.
Seetharaman Venkatasamy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 28, 2008
Posts: 5575

and time? ;-)
Jeff Verdegan
Bartender

Joined: Jan 03, 2004
Posts: 6109
    
    6

Jesper de Jong wrote:1. Many people assume that it's true that looking at a screen all day is bad for your eyes. I've heard that that's really a myth. You say you got glasses since you entered into IT, implying that there's a causal connection between the two. Maybe you needed glasses because you are getting older, or for some other reason. I've always had very sharp eyes and after 17 years looking at a monitor all day as a programmer my eyes are still very sharp.


I started wearing glasses when I was about 12 or 13. It was a very weak prescription, and through high school and my first couple years of college I hardly bothered wearing them at all. Then at some point I noticed I was having trouble seeing, got my eyes checked, and got a noticeably stronger prescription. It kept getting gradually stronger for several years, and I even developed astigmatism. Then it stopped. Over the last 10 or more years, my prescription has gotten just one small step stronger, and this has been the time when I've been staring at the screen more than ever. So who knows, maybe it's actually beneficial.
chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1771
    
  14

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Jeff, but your eyes have probably just hit middle age - it's all downhill from here! I've worn glasses since I was 13, gradually needing stronger prescriptions over the years. Around the time I was 40 they seemed to stabilise and my prescription hardly changed at all for several years. This year I turned 50, and I've had to get a separate pair of glasses for reading, as now I'm both long-sighted and near-sighted! Apparently the age-related tendency towards long-sightedness counteracts continuing changes in your shortsightedness for a while, but eventually age wins out. And I'm told the underlying structural causes of these two problems are different, so you end up still needing glasses for both problems.

So enjoy your stable prescription while it lasts!

No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2394
    
  28

Pat Farrell wrote:

++ psychiatric issues since programmers are so introverted and into computers that they never meet normal people and have fun, sex, etc.


That's a very misguided view of introversion. Introverts are people who gain energy from solitary activities. like reading or doing puzzles, whereas extroverts are people who gain energy from activities that require human contact, like dancing or going to a party. It's not like introverts don't like to meet "normal" people (what's normal, anyways? Introverts aren't abnormal). Many introverts like to meet people, just like many extroverts enjoy reading books. It's just that meeting people makes introverts tired whereas reading a book might make an extrovert tired.
Martin Vajsar
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 22, 2010
Posts: 3610
    
  60

chris webster wrote:And I'm told the underlying structural causes of these two problems are different, so you end up still needing glasses for both problems.

Indeed, there are two problems: the geometry of the eyeball changes (this brings up the long-sightedness), and the lenses gradually lose some flexibility, which narrows the range of distances the eyes are able to focus (needing two pairs of glasses).

My sister is an optician, which gives me access to free glasses and a lot of information, some of which I'd prefer not to know.

She measured my vision (a process which took some 90 minutes and made me totally exhausted), and found out my eyes are not properly aligned. It was a neat trick: she projected a cross using polarized light, so that two lines (upper and left) were seen by one eye and the other two (lower and right) by the other. It didn't render a cross in my brain! Turns out it is possible to craft glasses that correct this, which in theory enhances binocular vision. Indeed it does, but it also brings headaches on me. I was trying the new glasses for two weeks, but then gave up. The headaches didn't seem to go away.

My sister then told me that if I was twenty, I'd be able to get used to the glasses. It was probably the first time I was told I'm too old.
 
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