Working from home and find yourselves using a VDU screen more than usual? Is it straining your eyes?
As the workforce across the nation is looking forward for a “new” normality, the employers must not forget that the care their employee’s health is their paramount responsibility. As the lockdown is easing, our affiliated opticians across the country are slowly opening their doors to prioritise eyecare appointments. This is a positive step towards caring for your employee’s eye health, but the optical professionals have new measures to ensure safety of both yours and theirs is the highest priority during this time.
It is natural to feel a little worried about visiting your optician, we want you to know that our affiliated opticians are working hard to adapt their practices to ensure they are Covid safe.
So, what has changed?
If you feel your eyesight has changed or if you are concerned about your eye health, request an Eyecareplan voucher via our hub. Select your local opticians from our affiliated optician list. Call your optician and discuss your symptoms and they will determine whether an eye examination is required. Opticians have put new protocols into action so that you can still receive quality eye care, choose new frames or get the right prescription glasses and sunglasses.
Our affiliated opticians are working to comprehensive health and safety measures in line with the latest guidelines set by the government and local public health authorities. They will discuss with you the safety measures and requirement of protective wear i.e. mask etc before you can visit them.
At the optician
It is recommended that you only visit your opticians by booking a prior appointment. Most of our affiliated opticians are operating on a locked door policy in order to maintain social distancing and a Covid safe environment. The practices are cleaned in between each patient’s visit. If you are early, or the optician is not quite ready for you, you may be asked to wait outside or even in your car.
It is important that you wash or sanitise your hands when you enter the practice. The optical staff with guide you through this process.
Your optician will be wearing the appropriate PPE to protect both you and themselves. They may even ask you to wear some form of PPE for certain eye tests. They will be discussing this with you beforehand.
After your eye examination, if you require spectacles the opticians will go through our the Eyecareplans’s frames collection against your voucher’s entitlement. They will also give you upgrade options to chose something outside our collection and explain their unique offers and discounts for being part of the Eyecareplan. They will request you not to touch any frames without the optical staff present so that they know exactly which frames need to be sanitised after your appointment. You may be asked to tell your optician which styles and colours you like beforehand, minimising the need to pick up additional frames which can hinder the practice’s efforts to maintain a high standard of hygiene.
The optician will than clean the practice and all the touch points thoroughly after your visit, in preparation for the next patient. This gives you the reassurance that everything will have been cleaned before your own visit and the following visit when you come back to collect your new spectacles.
Taking care of your eyes
Amount of workforce working from home and the usage for DSE has been increasing. HSE have published guidance for employers as below[i] –
As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.
How to protect workers’ health
The law applies if users are, for example:
- at a fixed workstation
- mobile workers
- home workers
- hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)
- do a DSE workstation assessment
- reduce risks, including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work or do something different
- provide an eye test if a worker asks for one
- provide training and information for workers
Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious.
Your health is your own responsibility and it is vital that you get your eyes tested at least every 2 years, whether you wear any glasses or not. During your eye test the optician will not only check for any signs of refractive errors i.e. a need for glasses but also investigate any other clinical eye conditions; the earlier these are found, the better.
If you have noticed a change in your vision over the last few weeks, you can now book an eye test in order to ensure the health of your eyes.
Please remember, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean. In some rare cases, coronavirus can cause conjunctivitis. This occurs in around 1-3% of affected people, and it tends to happen in the later stages of the disease[ii].
Author – Alok Machchhar, Commercial Director, Eyecareplan