Businesses warned to take a closer look at employee eye health

National Eye Health Week 2014

More than half of UK employees say their current working environment has had a negative impact on their eye health, according to new research.

Westfield Health’s recent survey of 7,000 UK workers, conducted just ahead of this week’s National Eye Health Week, highlights the worrying impact of work on our eyes.

Fifty three per cent of respondents say their current working environment has affected their eye health, or their vision has got worse as a result of work.

Headaches, blurred vision, eye strain and dry eyes are just some of the eye related problems employees associate with their jobs.

The research found 82 per cent use a VDU (visual display unit) as part of their job but 14 per cent of them have not had their eyes tested in the last two years.

Nearly a third of respondents (32 per cent) were not aware of the statutory Health & Safety requirements for their employer to pay the full cost of an eye test and basic spectacles, if required for VDU use.

Our executive director Paul Shires said: “Regular sight tests are essential in order to keep a check on eye health, with experts recommending an examination once every two years.

“Our findings indicate that VDUs are a core part of most people’s working lives these days, which means employers must ensure they meet their duty of care requirements and inform staff of their entitlement to an eye test and basic glasses.”

Our survey also revealed that seven per cent of people had taken time off work because of an eye-related accident or illness, such as conjunctivitis, burst blood vessels, cataracts, and headaches and migraines due to eye strain.    

David Cartwright, chair of National Eye Health Week, said: “Prolonged screen use can put enormous strain on our eyes and trigger episodes of visual stress.

“Following the 20-20-20 rule – looking away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, and focusing on objects 20 feet away – can really help combat the effects of screen fatigue and prevent your eyes feeling sore, itchy and tired.”

We’re an official partner for the fifth annual National Eye Health Week and joining us in support of the campaign are a host of high profile names including Boots Opticians, The College of Optometrists, Vision Express and Lloyds Pharmacy.

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