State of the Nation: Eye Health report

The employer’s role

Following a ground-breaking research report entitled State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016 being revealed at the House of Lords, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare is looking at the role employers can play.

Cost saving initiatives

The report, a joint initiative from Specsavers and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, revealed that there are currently more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss, which is significant enough to impact their daily lives. Nearly half of all cases are preventable. This figure is set to rise to 2.7 million by 2030.

State of the Nation

The report considers the direct and indirect costs associated with reduced health and wellbeing due to sight loss. Using NHS and official population statistics, the report estimates that sight loss is costing the UK economy £28 billion a year, which has increased from £22 billion in 2008.

The employer’s role

Employers should probably already be providing eyecare for the majority of employees. Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) regulations make it obligatory for eyecare to be offered to all ‘screen users’*. Add to these the employees requiring eyecare for safety eyewear and those receiving Driver Eyecare, and the vast majority of employees should already be receiving eyecare. There are a few basic steps every employer can take to make the most of this provision:

  • Take time to understand the regulations and implement an eyecare policy
  • Ensuring that eyecare is offered on a regular basis (at least every two years)
  • Communicate your eyecare policy with the use of posters and your intranet, to encourage uptake
  • Implement a low-cost blanket scheme to cover all employees

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘Regular eye tests and early detection, followed by timely intervention and management of eye health conditions, can help to save sight. Employers are in a position to be able to help and they too will benefit from the employee wellbeing linked to eyecare.’

Employers can download free Eyecare At Work posters here:

https://www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate/employers

*More information about the Display Screen Equipment regulations can be found here:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/