Protecting Employees From Eye Strain

With many employees working remotely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, safe use of display screen equipment (DSE) is an important subject for employers to consider. Tasks involving DSEs are visually demanding for your employees, and excessive use can result in many health and safety concerns, including:

  • Tired eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Temporary short-sightedness
  • Headaches

According to HSE regulations, employers are required to provide eyesight tests for employees using DSEs upon request. These tests must include a vision test and eye examination conducted by a doctor or an optometrist. If results show that an employee requires glasses in order to complete their DSE-related work, employers are required to cover that cost as well.

While workstations and conference rooms at your company’s regular site may be set up with eye health and efficiency in mind, it is less likely that employees have optimal arrangements set up at home.

In order to help prevent eye issues caused by the use of DSEs, advise employees to consider the following when setting up their remote workspace:

  • Glare—Computer screens should be positioned to limit glare from overhead lights or sunlight.
  • Placement—Screens should be slightly below eye level, and positioned approximately an arm’s length in front of employees.
  • Brightness—The brightness of screens should be set as low as possible while remaining high enough that employees can still comfortably read text.

In addition to setting up an optimal workspace, employees can also take care of their eyes while using DSEs by:

  • Staying hydrated—Avoid dehydration, as it can cause eyes to dry out.
  • Remembering to blink—Be mindful of blinking. People tend to blink less while looking at screens.
  • Resting their eyes—Take a break by looking away from screens for at least 20 continuous seconds at least once every 20 minutes.

As an employer, you are responsible for keeping your employees safe.

Pass on these tips, and advise your employees to approach their supervisor if they have any concerns about eye health and safety.