Prolonged use of display screen equipment (DSE) such as computer monitors and portable devices may cause some employees to experience eye problems.

Under DSE Regulations, employees who work for long periods with VDUs (visual display units) are entitled to an eye examination, funded by their employer. If they need glasses solely for VDU usage, the employer is obliged to pay for basic frames and lenses. 

Specsavers VDU services offer responsible employers a safe, cost-effective way to stay on top of their obligations, and for employees the ability to avoid unnecessary eye discomfort. 

The VDU package and products

Price - £17 per eVoucher

What’s included? A full Specsavers eye and eyesight examination and up to £69 towards glasses, when the prescription in the glasses is required specifically and solely for VDU use. 

The Specsavers VDU package is designed to bring peace of mind to employees, prevent avoidable eye problems, and make it easier than ever for employers to meet their responsibilities. 

Each eVoucher enables an employee to obtain a full eye and eyesight examination.

Should it be identified that the employee needs glasses solely and specifically for VDU use, the voucher enables the employee to select a pair of glasses from our £50 range, fitted with CR39 single-vision lenses plus scratch-resistant treatment, as standard. 

Alternatively, the £49 contribution can be used towards an upgrade to other frame ranges. 

In addition, Premium Club can be requested free of charge alongside any combination or type of Corporate eVoucher — including VDU. 

This offers a further £20 contribution when glasses are selected from our £100 range or above, thus in the case of VDU it gives a combined contribution of up to £69. 

Do VDUs affect my eyesight and health?

In most workplaces, PC monitors and laptops are the most commonly-used VDUs (also commonly referred to as Display Screen Equipment, or DSE for short). DSE also covers tablets and smartphones, as well as CCTV screens monitored by security staff.

Research shows that working with DSEs does not cause permanent eye damage. However, having to focus on a screen for large periods of time can be very demanding on your eyes, sometimes leading to discomfort and temporary vision problems. It can also bring to the fore eyesight problems that employees had not noticed before, including age-related changes.

There are also wider health risks that can arise from DSE work, including upper limb problems and backache. Injuries are much more likely to arise if employees use equipment for long periods without a break, and where the workstation is not set up properly for the user.

VDU Regulations

The UK rules for VDU usage are set out in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 (revised 2002). 

Broadly, these regulations require employers to: 

  • Analyse workstations where DSE is used, in order to assess and reduce risks
  • Provide suitable equipment and make suitable adjustments depending on the individual employee’s needs 
  • Plan work activities so employees get regular breaks or changes of activity
  • Provide training to make sure employees are able to use their equipment safely

Under these rules, an employer must provide and pay for an eyesight test for a DSE user if they ask for one. A ‘user’ is someone who normally uses DSE for continuous or near-continuous spells for up to an hour at a time on a more or less daily basis (i.e. the vast majority of office workers).  

If the test shows that the employee needs glasses solely because of DSE usage, the employer must pay for those glasses. 

It’s up to employers how they provide the tests. They could let users arrange the tests and reimburse them later. However, for consistency, ease of admin and cost-effectiveness, it’s usually far easier to deal with all tests from a single, reputable source. This is one of the main reasons why the Specsavers Corporate VDU package proves so popular with employers and employees alike.

Download our brochure to learn more about Display Screen Equipment and Visual Display Unit regulations in the UK. 

FAQs

As an employer, what is my legal obligation for DSE users?

Under the Display Screen Equipment Regulations, UK employers must provide DSE users with an eye test if they ask for one. If it is established that the employee needs glasses because of the DSE usage, you must pay for the glasses. 

Should I be supplying bifocal and varifocal glasses to an employee who uses a computer?

One of the most confusing areas of the DSE regulations concerns bifocals and varifocals. These lenses can be unsuitable for DSE work, as it is not always possible to see the screen clearly without lowering or raising the head, which can lead to other associated problems, such as neck pain. 

The basic requirement is then to provide single-vision glasses suitable for viewing a screen at the appropriate distance. Specsavers offer a varifocal lens designed specifically for screen use called SuperDiital, which is available at an additional cost. 

Find out more

Do you or your employees regularly work with VDU equipment? If the answer is yes, read our expert’s advice about blue light glasses or discover more about our DSE eyewear eVouchers here. If you work in the public sector, find more information about your access to Specsavers Corporate Eyecare package.