With so many jobs involving computer screens, making sure that employees’ eye health is properly looked after is crucial

File 06 10 2017, 11 20 00

It should come as no surprise that in recent years’ staff wellbeing has topped the priority list for both individuals and the organisations that employ them. Sight is one of our most valuable senses, especially when it comes to getting our jobs done right, so undertaking good eyecare practice is essential for us all.

According to an article published by the Office for National Statistics, in 2016, an estimated 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK. The same article reported that 30.8 million days (22.4%) were lost as a result of musculoskeletal problems, including back and neck pain and upper limb problems. It is highly likely that these problems are a result, or are hampered by, a negligence towards workstation ergonomics.

A workstation assessment is the first key step to successfully complying with The Health and Safety Regulations 1992/2002. It can be as simple as an employer completing a basic ‘tick list’ to ensure their employees feel comfortable sitting at their desk and will ultimately lead to the prevention of ill health and absenteeism.

Although a workstation assessment has been completed, it may still be found that an employee(s) is experiencing ill health whilst sat at their desk. It is safe to say in this day and age that a large percentage of employees who are sat at a desk will be a DSE user. The term DSE is commonly used in the workplace nowadays. But what does it mean?

When referring to DSE (Display Screen Equipment) this can include computer screens/monitors, LCD screens, plasma screens and portable devices such as a tablet. The term VDU (Visual Display Unit) is also commonly used and is interchangeable with DSE. These types of equipment can emit large levels of light which can be damaging to the eye when exposed for long periods of time.

Did you know, when you stare at a screen for a prolonged period of time you often forget to blink? Research by the PNAS suggests that on average, people blink 12-15 times per minute. This drops to 4-5 when staring at a screen. It is highly important to keep blinking. Blinking helps lubricate your eyes, which helps to prevent them from getting dry and tired. Dry and tired eyes can be mirrored in the employees’ overall demeanour leading to a lack of productivity and potential ill health. It is, therefore, important for both employer and employee alike, to ensure good eye health is maintained throughout the workforce.

It is, in fact, a legal requirement as set out in the DSE Regulations 1992/2002, for an employer to provide its employees with an eye test and corrective spectacles, should it be determined by an Optician that they are required for DSE use.

Most people who need glasses for reading purposes will also require spectacles for DSE use. It would be up to the optician to determine whether the same spectacles are suitable for both purposes or whether two separate pairs are required. If the employee does require two pairs, the employer would only be obligated to make a contribution towards the DSE spectacles. The employer is also obligated to make staff fully aware of such eyecare entitlements.

Smart Employee Eyecare (SEE) are providers of occupational eyecare and have done so successfully for over 25 years. We work with a range of organisations ranging from over 300,000 employees to 5 employees and cater for various different industry sectors such as Finance, Public Sector, Engineering, Banking, Construction and more. No matter the size of company or operational structure, SEE can cater for any eyecare requirements.

SEE was founded as part of the Duncan and Todd Group, who are experts in the field of Optometry. At the core of SEE is our voucher system, accessed through our online portal. By providing your employees with a SEE eyecare voucher, you are meeting your legislative requirements and ensuring your staff feel comfortable about their eyecare at work.

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