Employers have an obligation to provide eye care to the vast majority of employees. This is because all ‘screen users’ are entitled to eye care under the Display Screen Equipment regulations. In today’s working environments, that does not leave many employees who will not be eligible to company-funded eye care. In fact, given the complexities of the DSE regulations and the efforts of assessing who counts as a screen user, it may be more practical for employers to provide eye care to all employees, regardless of their role. What makes this a sensible approach is the fact that it may well work out to be very cost effective.
There are many positive additional benefits to providing eye care for employees, aside from the obvious of making sure they can adequately view the screen or their work. Eye care can help with minor problems and conditions like headaches, eyestrain and dry eyes. These are factors that can directly affect productivity. More than this, an eye examination can detect conditions of the eye itself, like glaucoma and cataracts, but it can also help with the detection and monitoring of serious systemic conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and risk of stroke. This is achieved by examining the small blood vessels at the back of the eye. These show signs of issues in the same way the blood vessels do in the rest of the body but, through the eye, they can be viewed in a non-invasive way.
With so many wider benefits to eye care, it is surprising that employers do not always offer it to all employees. What is perhaps more surprising still, is that some do not communicate the benefits to encourage take up. Communicating the availability of eye care and the wider positive benefits can be a simple process. Indeed, we provide free posters on our own website, which can easily be downloaded and displayed. Our eye care management system, where HR professionals purchase eVouchers for DSE eyecare, Safety Eyewear, Driver Eyecare and more, has simple administration options that allow the HR manager to email employees directly with their eye care eVouchers or with reminders of appointments, etc.
One area of benefits communication that we have seen grow hugely in recent years is the holding of benefits fairs. Companies large and small are adopting the idea of gathering employees together to give practical demonstrations of the benefits on offer and the advantages they bring. Our corporate account managers are being asked more and more frequently to attend benefits fairs and wellbeing days to explain the eye care offering. We even have vision screeners, which we can bring along on the day to give an indication of visual abilities and a tangible demonstration of the importance of eye care.
If you are not providing eye care to all staff already, I would suggest giving it serious consideration. If you are already providing eye care, then ensure you are making the most of it by communicating the benefits.