A quick look at DSE legislation for eyecare

We are often asked about what are the rules surrounding eyetests and DSE regulations, so we’ve asked Jim Lythgow, Director of Strategic Alliances from Specsavers to give us a quick rundown on what’s what.

Display Screen Equipment – or Visual Display Units, (VDUs) – are in widespread use across all industries, and so the 1992 Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) regulations (amended in 2002) apply to virtually all staff and were put in place to safeguard the eye health of all employees using VDUs.

The regulations clearly state that there is a requirement to provide eye and eyesight tests, on request, to all current or new display screen equipment users. It is often assumed that eye-tests must be conducted either annually or biannually. What the regulations actually stipulate is that the professional guidance of the optometrist is what should be followed. In practise this is often a two-year test cycle, but will depend entirely on the condition of the individual patient, and must be respected by the employer.

Again the regulations are quite clear about the absolute minimum requirements for the provision of ‘special’ corrective appliances, or glasses or spectacles solely and specifically required for reading a display screen. These are distinguished from ‘normal’ corrective appliances that are, quite simply, glasses that are used for anything else. More and more of working life seems to be coming under regulation. Mostly, this is a good thing but regulations can become an administrative- and cost burden if not properly understood and implemented.

In a recent survey conducted among 270 employers, representing in excess of 420,000 employees, SCE found that 51 percent of employers believe it would cost more than £50 to provide glasses and an eyetest. In practice this need only be £17. There are a number of different methods in use to administer the process for employers, some are costly and more time-consuming than others, and there are some that alleviate the burden of administration while still ensuring all compliance legislation is adhered to. Consequently a regular review of an employer’s eyecare provider is a very good idea.

For a guide to DSE legislation from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, please contact:


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