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Exploring eyewear 04/03/2020

Comfort, fit and aesthetics are all important factors for ensuring employees wear their vital safety eyewear. Jim Lythgow explores the options.

HEALTH AND safety accessories may sound rather innocuous and implies these are just added extras. With such items as safety eyewear and hearing protection included in this category, however, they are often vital for employees’ safety at work. 

Providing safety glasses used to be a case of the safety manager just picking a pair from a catalogue in a one-size-and-style-fits-all approach. However, safety eyewear has advanced in recent years meaning there are more options for employers. 

It has become clear that one size and style does not fit all. When we surveyed over 500 UK companies to establish the priorities when choosing safety eyewear for employees, the overriding requirement, outside of protection, was comfort. This was selected by the majority, 57%, of employees, and followed by the opportunity for employees to try on glasses for comfort and fit, opted for by 40% of employers. 

Aesthetics

Showing that it is far from purely the technical aspects of safety eyewear that matter, the next most popular priority was to have designs for both men and women, required by 30% of employers. Followed closely by style for 27% and brand for a quarter, 25%. The desire for aesthetically pleasing designs features quite heavily in our research and it is clear that employers realise how important this is to ensuring employees actually wear their safety glasses.

Of course, protection should and always will be the major consideration for safety eyewear. The importance placed on brand may well be as much about robustness as it is design, but style is clearly important. For employees to wear their glasses consistently, it is essential that they like the look of them and feel good about wearing them. The designs and styles of safety glasses have come a long way in recent years, with new ranges including wraparound-style glasses and brand-name designs offering far more trendy and sporty-looking options, increasing the incentive to wear them. 

With comfort, and the ability to try on glasses, being key priorities, it is apparent that well-fitting eyewear is imperative. This may also be another reason why being able to choose specific designs for both men and women are preferred – not just for aesthetic style but also for appropriate sizing. 

Procurement

Being able to try on safety eyewear is an important consideration. Procurement of safety eyewear may be from a variety of sources including online ranges and paper catalogues. There is, however, no substitute for actually trying on different frames in person and being able to evaluate them for comfort and fit. Ultimately, the style of safety glasses will quite rightly be dictated by the setting and task for which they are required but there is often a range of options that match the criteria. Safety eyewear should ideally be assessed for comfort and fit on an individual basis and professionally fitted with one-to-one advice. 

Cost

It should be noted that cost also came into the equation with 29% of employers stating that low price was the feature they looked for when choosing prescription safety eyewear for employees. This factor cannot be ignored. It has been found in previous research that employers can pay way over the odds for eye care, depending upon the procurement route they take. Generally, the more expensive option is when the employee is left to source their own eye care, and then reimbursed through expenses. This process means that there can be wildly varying standards of care and the associated costs which make it difficult to budget. For small and large companies, this approach could result in significant overspends.

Prescription requirements

When it comes to employees who wear prescription glasses for everyday tasks, there are essentially two options. One is to provide over-goggles to be worn on top of the employee’s everyday glasses, the other is to provide prescription safety eyewear. Research shows that the majority of employers (54%) still provide safety over-goggles to those who wear everyday glasses. 

There are, however, issues associated with this. An increase in light reflection between the two sets of lenses can impact on the quality of vision. There is also the problem of physically having to wear two sets of appliances, which can feel awkward and uncomfortable. While prescription safety eyewear may seem the obvious solution, the research shows that 29% of employers only offer non-prescription safety eyewear. 

Encouraging wear

In addition to the figures showing that comfort and fit are an important factor for employers in selecting safety eyewear, there is also much research to show that discomfort often results in employees being more likely to remove safety eyewear when it is not safe to do so. All of this points to the fact that over-goggles should really only be considered appropriate for short or occasional visits to areas where eye protection is required, such as for external, occasional visitors. Any employee who needs to wear everyday glasses to comfortably carry out their working role and who regularly requires safety eyewear, should be provided with prescription safety eyewear and would most likely benefit from its provision in terms of productivity as well as safety and wellbeing. 

Significant need

While employers may assume that this is an issue that does not impact many of their employees, research has shown that in fact, on average, a third (33.6%) of employees who require safety eyewear have a prescription requirement. This makes it far more significant than many may have suspected and has major implications for the provision and use of over-goggles. 

Simple solution

Some employers may be put off providing safety eyewear as they think it is a complicated option. It is, however, perhaps easier to provide than many may realise. Employees can obtain safety glasses tailor-made to their prescription at their local opticians, just as they would for glasses for DSE use or for prescription sunglasses. They can be obtained using eVouchers in the same way DSE requirements can be met for screen users, with additional vouchers being used to purchase specialist lens requirements and treatments. 

Wider wellbeing

When it comes to the health and wellbeing of employees, safety eyewear may play a bigger role than many employers or their employees realise. Each eye test can check more than just the employee’s quality of vision. A full eye examination also includes checking the health of the eye. This can have much wider health implications as the optometrist is able to view the small blood vessels at the back of the eye. Changes here are often indicative of changes in the bigger blood vessels elsewhere in the body, which are only visible through much more invasive means. The result is that the optometrist may be able to detect indications of wider systemic conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and risk of stroke. So providing eye care means also providing a much more extensive benefit for general health and wellbeing. 

Hearing protection

Considering safety accessories includes more than just safety eyewear. Hearing protection also safeguards one of the vital senses. Hearing is also easily damaged and again, once damage has occurred, it cannot be reversed. Research shows that one-third (34%) of employees who require hearing protection for work purposes are not provided with it by their employer. This is acknowledged by the employers themselves and, by failing to do so, they may be putting the hearing of their employees at risk.

Permanent and disabling hearing damage can occur from any noise above 85 decibels. That is about the top end noise of a busy street, or the average lawn mower. At 85 decibels, exposure would have to be for eight hours or more, without hearing protection, but for every noise increase of three decibels, the exposure time halves. This means that it is only safe to be exposed to 88 decibels of noise for up to four hours. Noise of 91 decibels would be damaging after two hours. At 112 decibels, damage can occur in less than a minute. This is about the volume of a leaf-blower or chainsaw. 

Standard options

Research shows that of those employers offering hearing protection, the most likely provision is overhead earmuffs, provided by 42% of employers. Foam earplugs are the next most common option, offered by 37% of employers. 

Custom provision

Custom-moulded ear plugs are generally accepted to be the most effective solution for hearing protection, yet these are provided by just a quarter (26%) of employers. Custom-fit hearing devices provide an individual and unique fit with guaranteed levels of protection. Produced from impressions taken of the ears, custom-fit hearing devices can be made from soft, medical-grade silicone so users can wear them for longer than standard earplugs, with greater levels of protection. They are specially designed to fit each unique ear shape for a better, more comfortable fit.

Personalise

The clear message regarding both safety eyewear and hearing protection is that ideally it must be personalised. Standard single-fit options are acceptable as a basic provision under the health and safety regulations, but an employer must surely question whether such solutions really meet the level of responsibility they would want to offer. Health and safety today goes so much further, with more emphasis being placed on health and wellbeing. Providing personalised PPE accessories is much simpler than employers may realise and is actually surprisingly cost-effective when consideration is given to the improved productivity and wellbeing it may provide. 

* All research conducted independently by Opinium across over 500 heads of UK companies. 

Jim Lythgow is director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. For more information, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

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Three quarters of companies manage benefits online 10/12/2019

Three quarters of UK companies administer employee benefits online, according to research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare.

The survey among over 500 HR decision makers and heads of businesses investigated the administration processes and associated advantages for companies of all sizes across the country.

The 75% who manage benefits online is made up of 44% who administer all benefits this way and a further third (32%) who do so for some benefits. The figures are even higher for companies that provide workplace eye care, with 91% stating that they manage at least some, if not all, benefits online. Just a quarter (25%) of respondents said they do not handle benefits electronically. 

Ease of use and efficiency were the main advantages given of administering benefits online, with cost control, environmental reasoning and communication all also placed strongly as plus points. The figures show:

What do you believe are the advantages of administering employee benefits online?

  • Ease of use 53%
  • Efficiency/time savings 52%
  • Cost control/helps manage budgets 37%
  • Eco friendly (paperless) 35%
  • Helps communicate our benefits 33%

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, comments: ‘Healthcare and health-related benefits are frequently cited as the most popular employee benefits among staff. Eye care is an integral part of this. The fact that companies are now able to manage so many of these benefits online is an important step forward. The easier and more cost-effective benefit administration becomes, the more likely it is to be offered. For health-related benefits, this is of course good news for employees, but also for their employers who will also be likely to profit from the increased health and wellbeing of their workforce.’

Eye care is available for companies in the form of eVouchers, which can be purchased, distributed and overseen through an online portal. This makes the benefit transparent in terms of who is accessing it, how much it is costing, as well as making it easy to allocate vouchers and communicate the advantages of the scheme. There are, of course, also environmental advantages in that the entire process can be paperless, right up to the individual employee presenting the voucher to their local optician on their smartphone. 

To find out more about the benefits of implementing corporate eye care online, visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate.

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Seeing the need for prescription safety eyewear 15/10/2019

A Specsavers Corporate Eyecare survey of 500+ UK companies has revealed that, on average, a third (33.6%) of employees who require safety eyewear have a prescription requirement.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare says: "The need for prescription safety eyewear is far more significant than many may have thought. This has major implications for the use of over-goggles in the workplace."

Some employers choose to provide over-goggles to people who wear prescription glasses, rather than offer prescription safety eyewear. However, wearing two sets of lenses can cause reflections, which can impact clear vision, as well as being uncomfortable.

Lythgow continues: "Over-goggles are an old-fashioned solution. It is understandable that an employer with one or two people with an occasional requirement might opt for just providing over-goggles. But with one third of employees who need safety eyewear having a prescription requirement, prescription safety eyewear is really the sensible answer."

Some employers may not provide prescription safety eyewear if they don’t know it’s available. However, it is perhaps easier to provide than employers may realise. Employees can obtain safety glasses tailor-made to their prescription at their local optical store, just as they would for glasses for DSE use, or prescription sunglasses.

The designs have come a long way in recent years, including wraparound-style glasses, with plastic or metal frames, and a selection of lens types and treatments. Brand-name designs are also available, making the options far more trendy and sporty-looking, increasing the incentive to wear them. 

They can be obtained using eVouchers in the same way DSE requirements can be met for screen users. 

For more information on prescription safety eyewear, visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate/safety-eyewear

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Vision of safety 20/05/2019

Providing the correct safety eyewear for employees is essential and eye examinations can have a positive impact for employers and employees alike, says Jim Lythgow.

PROVIDING SAFETY eyewear should be a relatively simple process. If the potential impact risk is classed as low energy, then safety glasses should be suitable. Safety glasses meeting the European Normal (EN) 166F will resist the impact of a 6mm, 0.86g steel ball, travelling at 45 metres per second. In this situation, where visors or face shields are not required, then safety managers may often select a simple pair of safety glasses, as opposed to more bulky goggles. But what about those who need glasses in their everyday lives?

Safety managers would be forgiven for thinking that this does not affect many people and that providing over-goggles is the best option. There are, however, several issues with providing over-goggles, which are exacerbated when one realises quite how many people are affected. We recently undertook a survey of 500 UK companies1, from single-person enterprises, to SMEs, to large companies employing over 250 people. We asked: approximately what percentage of employees who require safety eyewear have a prescription requirement and/or wear glasses in everyday life? The answer we received was perhaps unexpectedly high, at more than a third (34%). 

This means that more than one in three employees needing safety eyewear will either have to wear safety over-goggles or be provided with prescription safety glasses. Indeed, looking at different sizes of companies, this figure is even higher for large companies (over 250 employees). They estimate that 46% of employees needing safety eyewear, also have a prescription. The effect may be particularly significant, however, for micro companies (those with 1-9 employees), where the employers still estimate that more than 20% of employees need both safety eyewear and prescription glasses, a weighty undertaking for companies of this size.

The problem with over-goggles

The problem with over-goggles is that wearing them on top of everyday glasses can cause light reflection between the two sets of lenses. Wearing both glasses and goggles is also likely to be uncomfortable, as well as rather unattractive. Comfort is a big concern when it comes to PPE as anything that proves uncomfortable for the job is more likely to be removed when it is not safe to do so. While aesthetics should not, in theory, be an important aspect of PPE, in reality, employees are again less likely to wear something with which they are not happy.

This is not to say that there are no circumstances in which over-goggles might be appropriate. If, for example, a warehouse facility has a safety eyewear requirement and is visited by people who are only there for relatively brief periods of time then over-goggles may prove a viable solution.

Wider merits of eye care

There are wider considerations to also take into account when providing safety eyewear. Any prescription eyewear will require an eye examination to determine the correct prescription. While technically, the employer is not required to provide an eye test as part of the provision of safety eyewear, it would be unwise for a safety manager to provide prescription safety glasses meeting an existing prescription, as eyesight can change without the individual being aware and this may result in an employee being provided with glasses with an out-of-date prescription from the outset. 

Providing an eye examination may seem to be a pure overhead but it can actually have some very significant positive impacts for both the employee and their employer.

An eye examination will of course check someone’s ability to see and enable the optician to provide the right prescription to correct eyesight. It will also check the health of the eyes. The optician can look for eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataract. If left undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated, some eye conditions can lead to deterioration and even loss of sight. 

The health benefits of eye care are wider still. The capillaries in the back of the eye can be viewed and monitored by an optician during an eye test Changes in these capillaries, like thickening, narrowing or bursting, can mirror changes in other blood vessels around the body. Particular changes can indicate conditions from diabetes and high blood pressure, to cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis. Many of the changes that can be seen in the eye using an eye test could not be seen elsewhere in the body without more invasive diagnosis procedures and many of the serious conditions that can be detected often remain symptomless until the condition worsens. 

Indeed, the British Heart Foundation announced in May that four million people under the age of 65, and 1.3 million people under the age of 45, in the UK are living with untreated high blood pressure2. Left untreated, high blood pressure can significantly raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia. 

Known as ‘the silent killer’ high blood pressure does not usually have any symptoms. A simple eye examination, as would be undertaken in the process of determining the prescription needs for safety eyewear, could help to detect high blood pressure., The condition can often easily be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. 

Clearly, discovering conditions such as high blood pressure could have an enormous impact on the health of the individual employee. For the employer, improving the health and wellbeing of employees will have a positive impact on the company too. Even just the minor ailments that can be helped with eye care can make a big difference to productivity – like banishing issues of headaches, tired eyes or migraines. 

Outside of the health benefits, there are other employee-benefits style advantages to eye care. It is highly valued by employees and the provision can therefore have positive impacts on morale and staff loyalty. 

Prescription procurement

The procurement of prescription safety eyewear does not need to be any more complicated than providing employees with over-goggles. Eye care eVouchers can be purchased online and simply emailed to the relevant employees. The employee arranges an appointment (online) at a store that is convenient to their home or work and the eye care provider can then take over the whole process. The employee just presents the eVoucher, either by printing the email, or just showing it to the optician on their smart phone. The optician can then ensure that the right safety glasses are selected, with the correct fit, and provide them to suit the individual’s own prescription needs. 

Safety eyewear has come a long way in the last few years and some providers have a wide range of options from which the employee may choose. Recently, brand-name prescription safety glasses have become popular, offering modern, sporty styles that many are pleased to wear. 

100% policies

Policies of 100% safety eyewear are becoming more common, with employers deciding to make whole warehouses, factory floors or building sites safety-eyewear areas, rather than limiting the requirement to more specific areas. This means that eye protection is worn by everyone, at all times, whether their role technically incudes a specific risk or not. Under these circumstances, providing bulky and uncomfortable over-goggles would really be an undesirable option. The safety manager who could not only provide prescription safety glasses, but ones that were trendy, brand-recognised options, is likely to be very popular. 

Providing safety eyewear really should be a relatively simple process. And it can be. It is just a matter of finding the right provider, with the right products, and an eye care management system that works for the safety manager. Once this has been put in place, eye care, whether for those with prescription needs for safety, DSE or driver care, will pretty much look after itself. 

Jim Lythgow is director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. For more information, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

References

  1. Research carried out by Opinium on behalf of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. Field dates: 15 to 20 February 2019. Sample:500 UK HR decision makers, including 135 in large businesses (250+ employees)

  2. British Heart Foundation ‘ticking time bomb’ release 3 May 2019

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Specsavers Corporate Eyecare to showcase eVouchers 19/03/2019

AT THE Health and Safety Event, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare will be showcasing its eVoucher system for simple and cost-effective workplace eye care.

eVouchers transform the way eye care is purchased, allocated and managed, maximising efficiency for the business and its employees. Health and Safety professionals are able to place orders, allocate eVouchers to relevant members of staff, and review real-time redemption reports online, for all areas of workplace eye care including DSE, driver eye care, safety eyewear and optical care. Through Specsavers’ online portal the entire process can be completely paperless: allocated eVouchers can be emailed directly from the system to the employee, who can redeem their eVoucher at any Specsavers store to obtain their eye care entitlement. Employees can even use their smartphone to do so.

There is no extra cost for the eVouchers or the supporting management system. There are, however, likely to be significant savings in terms of time, cost and efficiency. The system is user-friendly, flexible and offers the ability to track redemption of eVouchers and log employees’ requirements and the date of their next scheduled examination. It is even possible to generate automatically populated invoices from the system, which can be printed, or emailed directly to the finance department. The minimum order is just five vouchers.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says: ‘We are pleased to be exhibiting at the Health and Safety Event once again. We always enjoy the chance to meet with existing and potential customers and are confident that visitors to our stand will be impressed by our eVoucher system.’

For more information, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

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Employees value eye care 19/03/2019

NEW RESEARCH rom Specsavers Corporate Eyecare shows what employers believe staff value in terms of workplace eye care benefits.

Around half (49%) of the 500+ employers questioned believe that employees value the check on the health of their eyes as a fundamental part of any eye examination. While an eye examination performed by a qualified optometrist will also assess the overall health of the eyes themselves, checking for conditions like glaucoma, cataract and macular degeneration.

Over a third (38%) of employers said their employees value the check on their overall health. This is a vital element of the eye test. An optometrist is able to see changes to the blood vessels in the eyes, which may be indicative of changes elsewhere in the body. In this way, eye care can help with the detection and monitoring of much wider health conditions, such as diabetes, increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

It is important that employers take this into account when they communicate their eye care benefits. The wider health checks are a huge benefit, and more needs to be done to ensure employees appreciate this value. Eye care can be one of the best value (lowest cost) health and wellbeing benefits that can be offered, and can form an important part of an overall health and wellbeing programme. The more employees appreciate the wider value, the more they are likely to appreciate the benefit and make use of it. 

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare commented: ‘Eye care at work is not just for people who need glasses, it’s an important part of supporting health. Employers who promote this element are more likely to engage their employees with this valuable benefit.’

For many, it is the extra benefits and options that are seen to be of most value to employees. Over a quarter (27%) of employers stated that staff value accessibility to the store for eye tests and to chose frames. The research shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of employers believe staff value the reputation of the supplier and 20% felt staff like additional benefits they can pass on to family and friends. Also important were the look and style of frames available and an app to access the benefit, at 19% and 15% respectively. 

Jim Lythgow added: ‘It is good to see a variety of reasons why workplace eye care is valued by employees. While meeting the health and safety regulations may be the priority for the employer, there are many other positive aspects to eye care and we are pleased that these are valued too.’ 

Having local stores to visit is an important consideration when selecting an eye care provider. Having convenient access to eye care and a wide choice of frames is likely to mean that staff are more inclined to take up the eye care offering. Having a supplier who is trusted is also a vital aspect in this respect. 

While additional benefits, such as discounts for family members and an app for easy access to the provision, perhaps seem like lesser features of eye care, it is clear from the research that these are also important to employees. Therefore, they should not be overlooked when employers communicate their eye care benefits.

For more details of the eye care eVouchers and online management system available from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate 

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Better looking options 04/02/2019

Safety eyewear has made huge improvements over the last few years, and costs are often less than employers think. Jim Lythgow looks at the options.

THINK OF safety eyewear and most people probably think of cumbersome, unattractive glasses or old-fashioned over-goggles. In fact, the options for safety eyewear have improved massively over the past few years. Designs have become much more fashionable and far more choices are available. 

Safety glasses are suitable where the possible impacts are deemed to be low-energy. This option has become more prevalent, with employees tending to be supplied with safety glasses, where suitable, rather than goggles, as a first option. The situation is rather different, however, for those who have a prescription requirement. Specsavers Corporate Eyecare recently asked industry heads in over 500 UK companies what provision they make available*. For those employees who have a prescription requirement and are obliged to wear safety eyewear for their working role, 55% are still being provided with old-fashioned safety over-goggles. 

Quite apart from being a rather unattractive option, wearing goggles on top of glasses can cause an increase in light reflection between the two sets of lenses. This can impact upon the quality of vision. In addition, there is an issue of physically wearing two sets of visual equipment, which may feel awkward, heavy and uncomfortable. The provision of prescription safety eyewear is, therefore, generally a more suitable solution. The exception to this rule is perhaps for those only requiring safety eyewear for very short periods of time or on infrequent occasions, such as visitors to the site.

The survey was undertaken spanning a wide variety of industries, and almost half (49%) stated they have staff who require safety eyewear for their working role. Given the numbers of people who also wear glasses in their everyday lives, the need for prescription safety eyewear is likely to be significant. So why are so many employers still providing over-goggles for their employees?

Perception of cost

A forward-thinking 46% of employers surveyed were shown to offer prescription safety eyewear. While 28% of companies sourced this themselves, a significant 18% of employers stated they let their staff source their own prescription safety eyewear. These businesses are leaving themselves open to issues, including inconsistency of service and increased costs. 

The prices charged for the supply of prescription safety eyewear can differ hugely between providers. It is not unusual for an employee, left to source their own eye care, to present an unexpected bill to the accounts department, which may be tens, or even hundreds, of pounds more than is necessary. 

The survey looked into the issue of over-payment, asking employers how much they thought it should cost to provide a pair of prescription safety glasses. The average cost suggested by employers was over £90, when in fact single-vision prescription safety glasses start from less than £37. 

With wrongly perceived costs for prescription safety glasses, many employers are expecting to pay more than double the amount. It is perhaps not surprising then that the majority are still providing over-goggles. 

Wide ranging

Prescription safety glasses are available in a variety of metal and plastic material options, including nickel alloy, polyamide, polycarbonate and cellulose acetate; with an even greater range of lens options. Lenses can have a wide range of treatments and enhancements, from tints and anti-reflection treatments, to UV filters and reactions – photochromatic lenses that darken when exposed to UV light and return to clear when the light source is removed. The nature of lenses for safety glasses can also be selected: if an employee has varifocal or bifocal lenses in their everyday glasses, then it makes sense for their safety glasses to have the same option. 

While the safety and robustness of safety glasses must always be the main concern, the aesthetics have changed hugely over the last few years. Prescription safety glasses are now available in male, female and unisex designs, for example. A variety of colours are available, and the glasses have evolved to include wrap-around styles, closer in appearance to sports and sunglasses. 

Points for procurement

For those who have decided that prescription safety glasses are the right option, there are a few points to consider in the procurement process:

Eye examination

It makes sense to provide an eye examination prior to supplying prescription safety eyewear. Using an old prescription may limit the lifespan of the glasses and an eye examination checks not only visual ability but also the health of the eye. Moreover, by viewing the blood vessels at the back of the eye, the trained optometrist can detect symptoms of conditions as diabetes, heart disease and risk of stroke. Spotting indicators in the back of the eye is non-invasive and may provide vital early warning of serious illnesses. 

Try before you buy

It is essential that safety eye wear is comfortable and well-fitting. Uncomfortable eye wear is likely to be removed. The best option is for the individual to actually try on a range of safety glasses, to see which is most comfortable and consider the different designs. A professional fitting service is offered as standard by some opticians and is the best way to ensure the glasses are fit well. 

Consider the admin

The admin load for providing safety eyewear should not be daunting. There are various options for administering safety eyewear, with perhaps the simplest and most cost-effective to do so online. The advantages of this includes being able to manage the whole eye care process online, from procurement and distribution to redemption. This can help with cost management, budgeting and monitoring which staff have had an eye examination, etc.

Communication

Communication is an important aspect in terms of benefits being appreciated and of eye care policies being understood. The research asked respondents about their communication of eye care policies in general and found that the most popular conduit is still the staff welcome pack – the method used by 47% of businesses. 

The research also showed that just 57% of employers believe all staff are aware of their eye care policy and 40% believe most staff are aware of it. Analysis of the two results helps to understand the most effective forms of communication and indicates the staff welcome pack is the most successful method.

Choice decisions

In some ways there is no choice regarding safety eyewear. The decision as to whether it is required will come from a thorough health and safety audit and risk assessment. Once it has been ascertained that safety glasses are necessary, however, there is now a wide range of decisions to be made regarding supplier, administration method, styles offered, payment processes, communication, etc. 

Having a choice is a great thing but it is important to be able to make educated decisions. There are experts available to guide the safety manager through these decisions and to help ensure that employees are provided with the most appropriate solutions. This can ensure it is cost-effective, that advantages to health and wellbeing are maximised, and increase the chances of the safety eye wear actually being worn.

* Research conducted on behalf of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare by Opinium from 17 to 26 July 2018 among a sample of 507 decision makers across the UK.

Jim Lythgow is director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. For more information, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate

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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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