Hi, my name is Claire Williams and I am the Marketing Manager here at Safety Media based in Bodelwyddan, North Wales…
A lot of my daily work life involves looking at my computer screen and towards the end of last week my eyes were beginning to feel the strain! I checked with HR that it was OK to make my own arrangements and went about booking an appointment for an eye test at my local opticians to find out if my eyes were still 20-20…somehow I doubted they would be seeing as it was nearly 10 years since my last eye test!
Before working at Safety Media I was self-employed for many years and somehow Health & Safety matters such as DSE Safety were never really my top priority when working from home. Having now done my training both on e-Learning and watching our entire DVD collection I now repent and see the error of my ways!
I was lucky enough that the weather was sunny on Saturday so the optician worked through his lunch to leave early which gave me the chance to swoop in and get a last minute appointment, much to the surprise of the receptionist who sounded more shocked that I was! Sitting in the waiting area felt strange as I was looking around at all of the glasses wondering what I would pick should it turn out I do need some extra help to see things clearly (don’t we all sometimes?!).
Quickly enough I was called in for my “pre-examination” which was a novelty for me, things really have changed in the last 10 years! This consisted of resting my head on a chin rest while pictures and scans were taken of my eyes – I am sure I can still see the bright light flashing sometimes when I blink!
Once this was over I was called in to see the optician who very rightly reprimanded me for not coming for an eye test in the last 10 years and asked me who I worked for and explained they are legally obliged to pay for my eye test as I am considered a ‘DSE user‘ – that is someone who uses a computer for longer periods than 1 hour a day. I told him that my HR Manager had approved the test and that they were happy for me to go ahead with the examination and claim back the expenses.
After what seemed like a million more tests and a variety of different lenses trying to make things clearer (this I assumed was not a good sign!) the optician announced I was long sighted in both eyes, one worse than the other…oh oh! BUT, yes there was a but, I do not need prescription glasses….yet. He added the yet at he said I was 100% going to need to wear glasses for computer based work at some point in the not too distant future. With this he printed me out a prescription to be filled in case my eyes get worse and said he will set an automatic reminder for me to come back in 2 years.
After a few more tests, I happily paid for my appointment (just £21 – bargain) and skipped out of the store glasses free. Upon returning to work I gave my receipt to my Health & Safety Manager and was immediately reimbursed for the cost of the eye test – peace of mind and not out of pocket – brilliant!
Every company has a different policy when it comes to eye tests, some will have an agreement with a preferred supplier and make payments directly, some will work as Safety Media do on a reimbursement basis and some may have some another arrangement entirely. The amount that companies will pay towards tests and corrective lenses if required will vary so be sure to check with your HR or Health and Safety Manager before making any appointments / decisions.
One thing that the optician also mentioned to me ~(which is the point of this whole post) was that most opticians highly recommend the 20/20/20 rule. He went on to explain what this was:
Every 20 minutes take a break and look at something 20 feet away for a period of 20 seconds.
This allows your eyes to rest and refocus as one of the worst possible things you can ask your eyes to do is focus on a fixed distance for prolonged periods of time. Try it, see if it helps relax your eyes and maybe help you remain glasses free just like me!
For more information about DSE Safety please see our e-Learning courses or DVDs. It is also a good idea to have DSE related posters around the office to remind your DSE users to be mindful of their eyes – they are precious after all.
Written by Claire Williams, Marketing Manager at Safety Media Ltd.