Lack of eye care provision at work

Health and wellbeing the main reason for providing eye care

Slit lampOnly half (52%) of companies and organisations provide employees with eye care at work, according to new research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare.

Undertaken among over 500 senior HR decision makers across the UK, the research suggests that there may be a serious lack of eye care provision in the workplace. However, the majority of workers are legally entitled to company-funded eye care for safety reasons, because they drive for work or use a screen. Employees who regularly use a display screen, including a smartphone, for work-related reasons, are likely to fall under the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations, which entitles them to eye care.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘The vast majority of the workforce is likely to be entitled to eye care due to their working role, including screen use, driving, or safety requirements. This suggests there may be a significant number of UK companies and organisations not providing the eye care they should be.’

Eye care fundamental to health and wellbeing

The survey went on to ask those that did offer eye care in the workplace the reason behind making this provision. The majority of these (52%) provide it as part of their health and wellbeing offering.

‘It is interesting that the majority of employers that provide eye care do so to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce,’ said Jim Lythgow. ‘Eyecare is essential to health and wellbeing and we are delighted that so many employers are taking this enlightened view. We should move away from seeing eye care as a tick-box exercise just to meet legal obligations and start understanding its worth as a fundamental part of health and wellbeing in the workplace.’

In fact, despite the health and safety regulations requiring eye care to be provided for all screen users, just 38% of respondents gave this as their reason for providing eye care at work. Over a third (35%) said they provide it purely as an employee benefit and exactly a third (33%) said it is provided to employees who require safety eyewear. Drivers were at the bottom of the list, with just a quarter (26%) of employers providing eye care to employees who drive as part of their working role.

Jim Lythgow continued: ‘While the low level of eye care provision in general is disappointing at just 52%, where eye care is made available, the fact that the motivation is often holistic is very encouraging. We have seen a great increase in employers’ understanding of eye care as a valued benefit in itself and as part of a bigger picture of preventative health solutions. We are working to help make the most of this trend into as many businesses and organisations as possible by making employers and employees aware of the much wider benefits of eye care, such as the detection of serious health conditions glaucoma or symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

For more information on the benefits of eye care in the workplace, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate.