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Zurich teams up with Specsavers 11/02/2019

Leading insurer Zurich has appointed Specsavers Corporate Eyecare to provide specialist eye care for Zurich’s engineers. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Specsavers will provide Display Screen Equipment (DSE) eye care and prescription safety eyewear for engineers based at the insurer’s Birmingham office.

Zurich required DSE eVouchers for office-based screen users, and Safety Eyewear eVouchers for those needing personal protective equipment (PPE) working in the field. The DSE eVouchers offer a simple way for Zurich engineers to receive an eye examination and glasses. eVouchers for prescription safety glasses offer engineers the benefits of high-quality, robust, stylish safety eyewear to match their every-day glasses – whether bifocal or varifocal lenses. Engineers can chose from Specsavers’ full range of safety eyewear, including JCB branded safety eyewear, so engineers can try on styles for comfort and fit.  

Zurich’s team of 600 field-based engineers provide a technical support role for Zurich’s commercial customers, helping them comply with a wide range of legislation through independent in-service examinations of plant and machinery; identifying engineering risks. All Zurich’s employees are offered a full eye examination as part of their standard benefits package.

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Employers see eye care benefits 05/12/2018

New research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare reveals that employers believe improved health, wellbeing, productivity and morale are the biggest advantages of eye care. 

The study asked over 500 HR decision makers what, if any, they thought were the advantages to offering workplace eye care. The largest contingency, 42%, cited improved health and wellbeing, due to the early detection of illnesses through an eye examination. Improved productivity was the advantage given by 37% of respondents, due to a reduction of headaches and tired eyes. Over a third, 35%, believe improved morale is a key advantage of eye care. 

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: "To have such a high level of employer buy-in to the benefits of eye care is great. There is no magic bullet but if, as a simple but effective benefit, eye care can play even a small part in improving the lives of employees and, therefore, increasing productivity, then that has to be a good thing."

The research also showed eye care to be advantageous economically, with over a third, 34%, saying it is of advantage as a highly-valued benefit and 31% stating its benefit is in its low cost. 

Jim Lythgow commented: "From this, it would seem that eye care may benefit a business in two strands: as a low-cost but highly valued benefit that can be offered to employees, which is of advantage in itself; and, for the additional health, wellbeing and, therefore, productivity and morale boosting effects. It is particularly pleasing that employers and HR professionals are now clearly becoming more aware of the much wider health conditions that eye care can help to monitor and the positive impact for employees."

An eye examination can not only test the eye sight and check the health of the eye, it can also play an important role in detecting illnesses and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, tumours and risk of stroke. An eye examination includes viewing the small blood vessels at the back of the eye and these can give early indications of serious conditions that may otherwise only be detected as symptoms present or under more invasive diagnosis. On a lesser scale, an eye examination can also help with problems like headaches, migraine and dry or tired eyes, which is clearly something that employers believe aids productivity. 

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Migraine in the workplace 26/10/2018

Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, affecting an estimated one in seven people globally. It is important for employers to consider making reasonable adjustments for employees who suffer from migraines. These may include flexible working practices and adapting the physical environment to help prevent the triggering of a migraine. 

Prolonged use of display screen equipment is a known trigger for migraines. Specsavers Corporate Eyecare looks at how migraines could affect your employees’ vision and what employers can do to help:

Ocular migraines, sometimes referred to as retinal migraines, are temporary visual disturbances. Typical symptoms may include temporary loss of vision in one or both eyes, blurred vision, flashing lights, blind spots, or loss of peripheral vision. These symptoms may or may not be accompanied by a headache. Vision loss usually lasts to around 15 to 20 minutes, before normal vision gradually starts to return. 

If you suspect that you are suffering from a migraine that is accompanied by vision disturbances, the best course of action is to rest the eyes until symptoms subside and the vision returns to normal. 

Dr Nigel Best, senior optometrist and clinical spokesperson for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: "The symptoms commonly associated with ocular migraines can mimic symptoms associated with more serious retinal conditions, for example a retinal detachment. For that reason, it is important that if you experience these symptoms you should have your eyes examined urgently. This will allow your optometrist to rule out any eye condition that may be responsible. If your optometrist concludes that your symptoms are migrainous they can write to your GP who can discuss the most appropriate treatment options.  Your optometrist may also be able to give tailored advice to the individual on how best to manage the particular symptoms from which they suffer."

Research suggest that migraines double the risk of the most common type of stroke, where the artery supplying the brain is blocked by a clot. This is recognised by The British Heart Foundation, where evidence is also discussed regarding the link between migraine and heart disease.  

"An eye examination in itself can help with the detection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes,’ said Dr Best. ‘It is possible for the optometrist to view the small blood vessels at the back of the eye in which changes may indicate such conditions. This is a further reason to visit an optician if suffering from migraines."

The simple option for employers is to implement an eye care policy that provides an eye test for all employees. Dr Best said: "The Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations oblige employers to provide all screen users with eye care. It is likely, therefore, that employers are already providing access to the necessary preventative eye care, it may just be a case of communicating the benefits more widely."

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Lack of eye care provision at work 24/09/2018

Only half (52%) of companies and organisations provide employees with eye care at work, according to new research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. 

Undertaken among over 500 senior HR decision makers across the UK, the research suggests that there may be a serious lack of eye care provision in the workplace. However, the majority of workers are legally entitled to company-funded eye care for safety reasons, because they drive for work or use a screen. Employees who regularly use a display screen, including a smartphone, for work-related reasons, are likely to fall under the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations, which entitles them to eye care. 

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: "The vast majority of the workforce is likely to be entitled to eye care due to their working role, including screen use, driving, or safety requirements. This suggests there may be a significant number of UK companies and organisations not providing the eye care they should be."

The survey went on to ask those that did offer eye care in the workplace the reason behind making this provision. The majority of these (52%) provide it as part of their health and wellbeing offering. 

‘It is interesting that the majority of employers that provide eye care do so to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce,’ said Jim Lythgow. ‘Eyecare is essential to health and wellbeing and we are delighted that so many employers are taking this enlightened view."

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Designer frames increase eyecare take-up 03/08/2018

Research revealed by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare suggests that offering designer frames increases take-up of eyecare benefits and reflects well on the company.

This may prove useful information for safety managers providing DSE eye care, safety eyewear and/or driver eye care. 

Undertaken among over 500 senior decision makers from companies across the UK, the research considered the aesthetics of glasses and the positive impact they could have on morale. Employers were asked their thoughts on providing employees with designer ranges of frames and were generally very positive about the idea.  

24% said it would make it a more valued benefit than offering non-branded frames and 30% said employees would welcome the opportunity to visit an optician offering designer frames.

25% thought it would increase take-up of eye care benefits, while 30% believed it would reflect well on them as an employer. Finally, 21% thought it would support employee engagement, and 15% already offer designer frames and said access was valued by staff.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: "Sourcing and providing eye care isn’t just a tick-box exercise; eye care may be one of the more affordable provisions but letting employees know the extent of the offering can significantly increase how much it’s valued."

Specsavers Corporate Eyecare’s range of glasses suitable for DSE use and driving are available in a wealth of different designer options, from Converse to Kylie Minogue, and Pierre Cardin to Will.i.am. 

A simple DSE eyecare eVoucher from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare costs the employer £17. This offers the employee an eye test and complete pair of glasses, if required solely for DSE use, from the £45 range. Alternatively, they can use this as a contribution worth £65 towards designer frames.

The JCB range of prescription safety glasses was launched by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare last year. Styled to reflect a modern, tough, sporty look that is so popular in sunglasses designs, the new frames are hard to equate with traditional safety glasses.

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Eyecare tool 01/06/2018

Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has updated its website, increasing its use as an eye care tool for employers.

The new site is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly and enables employers to quickly and easily access information and tools to assist with managing workplace eye care.  
There is an FAQ section, with details answering common queries regarding DSE regulations and eye care, safety eyewear, and driver considerations. It also includes concise information on the eVoucher system for online management of all areas of workplace eyecare.
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “We are very much aware that our website is far more than just an online brochure. It is an eye care management tool and we wanted to ensure that it offers the best customer journey and experience. We have made a clearer path for the eVoucher login and simple routes to follow for guidance and information for employers and their employees alike. We play an important role in educating people about workplace eye care and it is essential that our website reflects and enables this.”
Ranges, resources and appointments
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has updated its website in order to communicate new developments and important information. For example, the site acts as a showcase for the many designer ranges and high-street-name brands that Specsavers offers to employees, including with all 24 designs in the JCB prescription safety glasses range, for customers to view before trying-on in store. There is a selection of materials available to download for free, from posters encouraging take-up and communicating to employees the value of the eye care provided, to guides on DSE eye care and driver eye care, which are a useful reference for HR and benefits managers. It is also now possible for employee to book appointments online, saving them time.
Online management and eVouchers
The website acts as a portal to the eye care management system, where eVouchers can be purchased, distributed, and managed, maximising efficiency for employers and their employees. Real-time redemption reports are available online for all vouchers, and the entire process can be completely paperless, with vouchers emailed directly to employees, who can even redeem them at their preferred Specsavers store using their smartphone. There is no extra cost for the eVouchers or the supporting management system.

 Visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate
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Protecting the eyes from sun exposure 22/05/2018

Employers are generally well aware of the need to protect their employees’ eyes from hazardous substances and flying objects, but there is a threat to eyesight that is far more prevalent in almost all employees’ lives – the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun can cause short- and long-term eye damage including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, explains more

The eyes are just as vulnerable as the skin to damage from the sun (The Skin Cancer Foundation, Australia). Excessive exposure to the sun can cause a painful sunburn-like inflammation of the cornea at the front of the eye. This can greatly increase the risk of developing more serious, even sight-threatening, conditions in the future. 

The sun’s damaging power is increased by glare, which occurs when UV rays are intensified as they reflect off shiny surfaces such as glass. It is important to protect the eyes from the sun while working and driving, as well as when relaxing outside of working hours.

Dangers from the sun can be reduced by polarised lenses, which use a layer of iodine crystals to absorb the glare. Non-polarised sunglasses will only have a minimal effect, even though they will reduce the amount of visible light. Cheap sunglasses may cause the pupil to dilate, actually increasing the amount of UV light filtering into the eyes. High-quality sunglasses will also protect the delicate skin surrounding the eyes.

Age-related macular degeneration 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular damage and is currently a leading cause of sight loss in the developed world (www.macularsociety.org/types-macular-condition). It occurs when a person’s retinal cells die off and are not regenerated, causing visual impairment and, in some cases, blindness. 

Numerous factors can increase the risk of developing the condition, including smoking, a poor diet, and genetics. Overexposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is also a key contributor.

AMD affects more than 600,000 people across the UK and it is crucial that people ensure they are wearing sunglasses, or UV-blocking contact lenses, particularly throughout the summer months, to protect against the harmful exposure.

Role of employers

Sunglasses may not be the first thought for employers regarding PPE, but they are a valid requirement for many employees who work outside or drive. Employers are in a position to be able to protect the eyesight of their employees while providing a cost-effective employee benefit. Sunglasses do not need to be expensive and may provide a small but highly-appreciated additional benefit. 

Sunglasses can be a particularly welcome benefit if employees are offered a choice of a wide range of styles, and even designer options can prove affordable. Purchasing sunglasses from a reputable optician will not only mean that they offer the required sun protection, but sunglasses are also often available with prescription lenses.  

Choosing wisely

It is important that sunglasses are not purely a fashion statement. Sunglasses without an adequate UV rating can actually cause more damage than not wearing sunglasses at all. 

Specsavers Corporate Eyecare offers the following guidance for finding the right pair of sunglasses and ensuring the eyes are protected:

  • Check sunglasses comply with BSEN 1836: 1997, or bear the CE kite mark and are marked UV 400
  • Dark sunglasses do not necessarily provide more UV protection
  • Polarised lenses decrease the amount of glare, which can dazzle and strain vision. This can be particularly important for those with working roles requiring high levels of concentration 
  • The larger the lens, the more protection they will give the eyes as there is less chance that light will filter in through the sides
  • Ensure sunglasses fit properly. They should not be able to slip off or have a tight strap that digs into the head
  • Invest in photochromic lenses – such as the Specsavers Reactions lenses that instantly adapt to light changes, darkening in bright light. Alternatively, have prescription lenses tinted to minimise the amount of UV rays that reach the eyes.

Take advice

An optician is there to provide advice on all aspects of eyecare and not just to provide glasses for those with visual difficulties. Opticians will be best placed to advise on the type of sunglasses for the employee’s needs in terms of protection, comfort and appearance. They may even offer to check the amount of UV protection being offered by the employee’s existing sunglasses, so make the most of the help and information available. 

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Employers still providing over-goggles 04/05/2018

Research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare reveals that over half (54%) of employers still provide safety over-goggles to those who wear everyday glasses.

The wearing of goggles on top of glasses can cause an increase in light reflection between the two sets of lenses, which can impact the quality of vision. There is also an issue of physically wearing two sets of appliances, which can feel awkward and uncomfortable. 
The solution to this issue is to provide prescription safety eyewear but the research shows that 29% of employers offer non-prescription safety eyewear only. Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘For many years, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare’s research has shown that discomfort results in employees being more likely to remove safety eyewear when it is not safe to do so. Over-goggles may be considered appropriate for short and occasional visits to areas where PPE is required. However, any employee who needs to wear their everyday glasses to comfortably carry out their working role and who requires safety eyewear on a regular basis, would benefit hugely from the provision of prescription safety eyewear.’
Safety by design

Although the main feature of any safety eyewear is of course the protection it provides, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has again proved that the appearance of safety eyewear is also significant. Over two-thirds (67%) of employers felt that the design of safety eyewear was important in that a more modern and appealing design would make employees more likely to wear it. Nearly a third (35%) said attractive design would mean employees would be much more likely to actually wear it.
Extensive reach

The research went on to ask employers about their provision of eye care for those who require protective eyewear. Less than half (47%) of respondents whose employees require safety eyewear also offer eye examinations. ‘While there is no obligation under the health and safety regulations for employers to provide an eye test linked to the provision of safety eyewear, this may be a little short-sighted, if you’ll forgive the pun,’ said Jim Lythgow. ‘A full eye examination can help with the detection and monitoring of many serious wider health conditions, like diabetes, risk of stroke, heart conditions, some cancers and thyroid problems, to name just a few. In addition to helping to ensure employees have the most accurate vision in the workplace, an eye test could also help with ailments like headaches and eyestrain which, although more minor, can affect the productivity and performance of an employee.’
Providing employees with prescription safety glasses, and an accompanying eye examination, could, therefore, provide positive benefits for the employee and employer alike.
Visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

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JCB safety eyewear range 31/03/2017

JCB’s brand is synonymous with quality, safety and durability; and these attributes are reflected in Specsavers Corporate Eyecare’s new range of JCB prescription safety eyewear.  

A total of 20 JCB frames are available, offering a variety of options, from diverse designs and styles, to greater colour combinations, and different frame sizes, in men’s, women’s and unisex designs.

The frames are available in metal and polycarbonate, with a wide choice of lens materials, depending on the requirements of the specific work activity, and so are suitable for a large range of industrial settings. Each lens has undergone a variety of safety tests and the frames all have side shields, which include the JCB brand.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘We have subjected more than 440 pairs of prescription safety glasses to extremely rigorous tests. As you would expect from Specsavers and JCB – these glasses are tough! We are also really pleased with the aesthetics of the range.’

The frames are available through the Specsavers Corporate Eyecare eVoucher scheme, where eyecare can be easily purchased and managed online. Code: HSM0317.

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Eyecare: are your workers covered 100%? 01/02/2017

If there is a need for safety eyewear in a particular area of the factory floor, for a particular role, safety managers are erring on the side of caution and making the entire factory floor a safety eyewear zone. Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare suggests that this precaution has an impact on the procurement of safety eyewear.

Eye and eyesight protection is arguably one of the most important aspects of PPE. Indeed, eyesight is so valuable that there is now a growing trend towards 100% safety eyewear in areas that are deemed hazardous. It has always been important that eye protection is comfortable but extended wear means that comfort and fit must be given even greater precedence, for a greater number of people. We have undertaken research over many years which has shown that people are likely to remove safety eyewear, when it is not safe to do so, if it is not well fitting and comfortable. The solution to this problem is quite simple: to allow employees the opportunity to actually try on different styles of safety eyewear and to have eyewear professionally fitted.

Choosing safety eyewear from a catalogue or online is not ideal. No-one expects everyday glasses wearers to all wear the same style and to buy their glasses without trying them on. We don’t believe this should be any different when the glasses are actually there to protect eyesight.

Professional fitting of safety eyewear is a quick and simple process, which is generally cost-free. It is designed ensure that the safety eyewear fits correctly round the temples and across the bridge of the nose. Badly fitting safety eyewear may not only be uncomfortable but may also not fully provide the necessary protection from impacts.

With 100% safety eyewear policies in place, using over goggles for glasses wearers is unlikely to ever prove the best solution. Quite apart from the light refraction caused by two sets of lenses, is the issue of the discomfort caused by wearing two sets of eyewear. Prescription safety eyewear is likely to be the best solution in the majority of cases.  

A policy of 100% safety eyewear may actually have further benefits over and above safeguarding vision from possible chemicals, sparks or flying objects. While it is not obligatory for employers to provide an eye examination prior to providing safety eyewear, not doing so could result in a new prescription being required very soon after new eyewear has been provided, which makes little financial sense.

Far beyond an added bonus, a full eye examination can have huge additional benefits. Using special optical cameras, the optometrist is able to view the blood vessels at the back of the eye and can detect small changes that cannot be seen anywhere else in the body without invasive procedures. Certain changes can indicate cardiovascular disease. Thickening of the blood vessel walls, or narrowing of the vessels themselves, can restrict blood from reaching the retina - this may be indicative of high blood pressure. Spotting this is important as high blood pressure affects one in three adults but, in many cases, is symptomless.

These systemic conditions that can be detected through eye examinations also include such disorders as diabetes, raised cholesterol, arthritis, thyroid problems, multiple sclerosis and others. Of course, eye examinations can also detect a huge range of ocular conditions, including cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, ocular tumours, and more.

With the ability to detect so many serious illnesses and conditions, often before any symptoms become noticeable, a simple eye examination can have a big impact on health and wellbeing. This is turn, can have a positive impact on productivity.

Midland Aerospace is one such company that has adopted this approach for prescription safety eyewear. With the production team carrying out tasks like CNC machining and manual milling, fabrication, detailed assembly work, and paint preparation and application, it is vital that they have the appropriate safety eyewear. While it would technically be sufficient for Midland Aerospace to provide over goggles for those who wear glasses for everyday use, the company has chosen to provide prescription safety glasses, as these provide greater comfort.

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