National Eye Health Week: Eye Health Care Benefits for Employees

Recent studies have found that 89% of employees value eye health care as an employee benefit. Find out more.

Research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has found that 89% of employees value eye health care as an employee benefit and that 88% of employers believe eye care contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of their employees. It is therefore surprising that 26% employers state that they spend less time sourcing and communicating eye care than other available employee benefits.

The research, which was carried out among 500 senior decision makers from companies across the UK, concluded that eye care is being taken more seriously among UK companies than ever before. Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare states that eye care is now viewed as an employee benefit in itself and not just as an obligatory provision.


Employer obligations

Obligations established in the Health and Safety Regulations of 1992 state that if your employees work with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) for longer than an hour a day, you must pay for your employees’ eye tests and any corrective lenses needed for them to do their job correctly. You must also check your employees’ screens are well positions and properly adjusted, install high-quality lighting conditions and ensure your employees are taking regular breaks from screen work.

Display screen equipment includes any screens such as computers and tablets and thus, this obligation affects most office-based employees. It can also refer to retail staff who spend a large amount of time on tills and using hand-held electronic devices such as scanners.

Although DSE work does not cause any permanent damage to your employees’ eyes, it can lead to long spells of tired eyes, discomfort, temporary short-sightedness and headaches.

Your business must therefore arrange for the cost of your employees’ eye tests to be covered. It is up to you on how you provide the eye tests you can either let your employees arrange the tests and reimburse them for the cost later, or you may send all your workforce to the same optician whenever they request an eye test.

Employee benefit

Looking after your employee’s sight can be one of the most cost-effective and beneficial ways an employer can support health and wellbeing in the workplace. Not only are eye tests imperative in reducing discomfort and providing the right prescription glasses, but they also check for conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. These checks can also detect and monitor serious conditions which affect your employee’s wider health like diabetes, increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

As part of a wider health benefit, health cash plans frequently cover eyecare alongside a host of other health benefits and treatments. They are also included in workplace health-screenings where employees can see where their health is at currently with the guidance and support of a doctor. These benefits provide a cost-effective employee method that fulfils obligations while engaging with employees and supporting them on a wider health level.


Business benefits

The importance of eye health care in the workplace should not be underestimated. Workplace health care is more than just fulfilling your obligations and as such, has a large impact on your employees in their working roles. With healthy and corrected vision, your employees will experience fewer headaches, less eyestrain and reduced dry eyes, all of which can negatively affect employee productivity.

By extending your employer obligations to support eye health to a wider health and wellbeing benefit, you illustrate the importance of regular health checks within your workplace. This shows your employees you care about their wellbeing, increasing engagement levels and employee satisfaction. Happy employees mean a happy business and can increase business retention and attraction rates.

Whether you offer free eye-tests or incorporate a larger health care benefit, Mr. Lythgow of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare argues that it is important that employers let their staff know that the benefit is offered; while employers may be aware of their obligations, not all employees will know whether they are entitled to an employer-funded care benefit.

In addition to this, it is also important that the effects of eye health are understood by all staff, as not all employees will appreciate the extent that it can help contribute to their overall health and wellbeing. To find out more about our health benefits, call 0330 333 9100 or email