Employers must provide DSE user employees with free eye tests and, if required, glasses to allow them to work safely with DSE. The test must be a full eye and eyesight test including a vision test and eye exam. It must be performed by a suitably qualified optometrist or doctor. Eye tests should be provided:
when an employee first becomes a DSE user, or if someone is being recruited to become a DSE user
when an employee requests an eye test
if an employee is experiencing visual difficulties which may be related to DSE use
at regular intervals after the first eye test, following the optometrist or doctor’s recommendations
Employers can choose whether they or their employees are responsible for arranging the tests, and whether they are paid for using a voucher scheme or by requiring employees to pay initially before they are reimbursed for the costs.
If an eye test determines that an employee needs glasses, their employer only needs to pay for them if the employee requires them only for DSE use (ie they are prescribed specifically for the distance that the screen is viewed at). Only basic lenses and frames (ie which are sufficient for the employee to safely do their job, no more) must be paid for.
In some cases, bifocal or varifocal prescriptions may be considered necessary for allowing an employee to do their job. In such cases, these must be paid for by the employer. This could apply if the employee has to focus on things at different distances whilst doing DSE work and they need glasses for both distances (eg if they talk to clients sitting across from them whilst using DSE).
Employers may choose to let employees get glasses which meet other needs. In such situations, they would only be required to pay for the costs attributable to the DSE related job needs.