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Why your working distance is so important.

May 16, 2011

I’m always telling people how important working distance is when they are considering the purchase of optical devices.   This sounds like a pretty dry subject, so why do I harp on it so much?

Well, the working distance of your device (whether it be reading glasses or magnifying telescopes) determines how your body will be positioned while doing your “work”.   If you are sitting in an awkward body position for extended periods of time because the working distance of your device is too short or long, you can get back, neck, shoulder and even eye fatigue.

Sometimes, just a slight adjustment of your body–moving your head back a few inches for example–can make all the difference in the world.  Sometimes, this can be accomplished by raising or lowering your chair, something many people forget to do.  And sometimes, these minor adjustments just don’t work.

As a result, too many people adapt their bodies to a device that is available (or to one that they have always used) rather than find a device that can provide comfortable and ergonomically correct positioning for the long haul. 

Here is a shot of someone sacrificing ergonomics and comfortable body positioning in order to adapt to a product:

And here’s a shot of that same person with a product adapting to her desired way of working–head up, back straight, comfortable:

Jewelry Artist

The pictures say a thousand words, and now you know why I talk about working distance so often.

Please pay more attention to your body position when working.  No matter what kind of optical device you may be considering, make sure it can adapt to your preferred way of working and not the other way around.

If you take the time to get into a comfortable position and measure the distance from your eye to the object you are working on, you can use that information to find a device that encourages maintaining that position.

Your neck, back, shoulders and eyes will all thank you.

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