Have you had your eyes tested recently? Do you suffer from headaches and tired eyes? If your job entails working on a computer for long periods of time, it might be a good idea to get your eyes tested.
Can’t afford it? It’s more like you can’t afford not to! The good news is though your employer is liable to pay for these tests and more importantly, your employer should inform you of your right to an eye test. Tests are usually priced at around £25.
Am I entitled to a free eye test?
Yes, you most certainly are! Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (amended 2002) it is the employer’s responsibility that all VDU users (Visual Display Units, such as computers), are provided with an appropriate eye examination. VDU users are employees who must use a VDU to do their work, use a VDU for continuous periods of over an hour or if you use a VDU every day.
The employer is to pay for this test and any subsequent tests that should be carried out at regular intervals. Full eye and eyesight tests will be carried out by an optometrist and some employers have their own schemes available with optometrists that may even come on site regularly for staff eye and eyesight testing.
Does my employer have to pay for my glasses?
Sometimes. If the results of your eye examination show that you need to wear glasses specifically for you to do your job on a VDU, then your employer is only liable to pay if the glasses you need are prescribed for the distance your screen is viewed at. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses then your employer does not have to pay for them. It’s a good idea to check with your employer though and ask, you just never know … Employers are quite vigilant here, simply because for example if you were a courier and you needed glasses to do your job, the employer may be liable for motorbike accident compensation if you were injured because of such an issue.
What is not covered by the regulations?
There are certain types of VDU that are not covered by the DSE regulations such as computer systems inside vehicles, calculators, cash registers or computer systems for use by the public. Check with your employer if in doubt, or you can check out the regulations yourself at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg90.pdf
And finally …
Remember that long periods of working on computers or other VDUs can create nasty headaches, eye strain, tired eyes, temporary short-sightedness and discomfort. Your eyesight is important and any defects and problems will only get worse if you don’t look after your eyesight.
Cormac Reynolds has written articles for a number of health sites and wears glasses himself and understands the issues with site and work.