Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) can be visually demanding, and the strain on your eyes can lead to the diagnosis of unknown eyesight issues. Screens themselves do not actually damage your eyesight, however they can cause eye discomfort, tired eyes, headaches, and temporary short-sightedness.
If you have noticed any issues whilst working with screens, it is advisable to arrange an eye test, and the law states that employers must arrange tests for DSE users if they request one.
Who qualifies for free employer eyesight tests?
To qualify for a free eyesight test from your employer, you must be a user of display screen equipment. This means that you must spend at least 1 hour per day using a screen as part of your role. According to the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations, any employee who uses a screen at their workstation, on a numerical control display, at a machine tool or even at a supermarket till is classed as a DSE user.
If you are a DSE user, you will be entitled to a full eyesight test, which will include a vision test and an examination of your eye. The employer can decide how to provide the eye test, so you may be reimbursed immediately after the test or within your next pay, or you may be asked to attend an optician selected by your employer which they will pay for directly.
Am I entitled to free glasses through my employer?
If your eyesight test shows that you require glasses specifically for use with display screen equipment at the distance you view your workplace screen, your employer will be required to pay for the glasses. However, if your ordinary prescription is suitable for use with your workplace screen, your employer will not have to pay.
How can I reduce the impact of DSE work?
Although your employer may not have to pay for your glasses, they can help to reduce the impact of DSE work. Whether you work at a screen for an hour or for the majority of the day, it is visually demanding. Your employer can help by providing equipment which can be properly adjusted and positioned, ensuring lighting conditions are suitable for working and by providing regular screen breaks.
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure that you can safely perform your job, so if you are concerned about eye strain or eye fatigue, speak to your employer about your workstation setup and an eye test.
It is not just traditional office workers which are affected by long periods of screen use, as many roles today involve the use of DSE equipment. With the average adult on in the UK spending 9.5 hours looking at a screen, it is more important than ever to take care of your eye health.
Here at Realeyes Opticians we offer competitively priced eyesight tests and eye examinations, with a range of glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses available. To find out more, please contact your local branch today.