Firstly, contrary to popular belief, screens themselves do not actually damage your eyes. However, Display Screen Equipment (DSE) work can be visually demanding and can make someone aware of any existing eyesight problems they had not noticed before.
Additionally, long periods of working with DSE can lead to a handful of short-term problems such as:
- tired eyes
- temporary short-sightedness
This is why it is crucial that DSE is set up correctly, and that employees take regular breaks from their screen.
It is also crucial that employers carry out a DSE risk assessment to help identify and reduce any risks that could be hazardous to health.
Does my employer have to pay for my eye test?
The HSE state that:
an employer must provide an eyesight test for a DSE user if they request one. The employer must also pay for the test
So, to meet the criteria for a free eye test from your employer, you must be considered a DSE user. This is someone who spends more than an hour per day in front of a screen for work.
The test should be a full eye and eyesight test carried out by a doctor or optometrist and must be inclusive of a vision test and an eye examination.
It’s down to the employer on how the eye test is provided - for example, they could reimburse the cost to the employees after the test, or alternatively, they could send any DSE users to the same optician.
Does my employer have to pay for my glasses?
Employers are only obliged to pay for glasses for DSE work if the eye test shows that an employee needs specially prescribed glasses for the distance the screen is viewed at.
If an ordinary prescription is suitable, employers do not have to pay for the glasses.
Do I need DSE training?
Your employer has a duty of care towards your health and wellbeing, this means that they need to ensure that you know how to safely use display screen equipment. They need to provide you with training which covers the risks involved with DSE and should cover things like:
- Good posture
- How to adjust your chair and furniture
- How to arrange your desk space
- How to adjust your screens and light levels to avoid reflections and glare
- The importance of breaks and changes in activity
- Risk Assessments, and
- How to report problems