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Eyesight tests

Employers must protect workers from the health risks associated with working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to all workers who use DSE equipment daily, for an hour or more at a time.

DSE work does not cause permanent damage to eyes. But long spells of DSE work can lead to:

  • Tired eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Temporary short-sightedness
  • Headaches

What you can do to help protect your eyes

Working on screens can be visually demanding, and it can make you more aware of eyesight problems you may have that you've not noticed before including age related degeneration. There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from ill effects of DSE use.

  • Check your screen is well positioned to avoid excessive glare and that lighting conditions are suitable for you.
  • Make sure you have adjusted your screen and are sitting at the recommended distance.
  • Take regular breaks from screen work.
  • Ask your employer to assess your DSE workstation and take steps to reduce any health risks.
  • Get your eyes tested. It's recommended to do so at least once every 2 years is recommended, or if you notice any changes or deterioration in your eyesight, or frequent discomfort.

Eyesight tests & glasses

The law says your employer must arrange an eye test for display screen equipment users when asked. This should be a full eye and eyesight test by an optometrist or doctor, including a vision test and an eye examination, and it must be provided at the cost of your employer.

Your employer must also provide glasses for screen use if these are determined to be required. There is no legal requirement to provide corrective lenses for any other reason.

Arranging a test

Most big employers have a dedicated process to organise eyesight tests and help you claim DSE glasses - this is often done through relationships with suppliers or by providing you with a voucher. If your employer doesn't have a scheme in place, or you're unsure, talk to your manager to agree how your expenses will be covered. Once you've got this sorted, select where to book your appointment and arrange this directly yourself for a time and date that suit you.

You should arrange your appointment outside of your working hours if possible, and where this isn't possible you should book as close to your start or finish time as possible. Where you do need to have the appointment in working hours, your manager will use their discretion to consider agreeing paid leave. Alternatively, and especially if you've been granted a lot of paid leave previously, you may be asked to work the time back, use your annual leave entitlement or take as unpaid leave.

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