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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
|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
|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.
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:
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 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.
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
|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.
|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.
|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."
|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."
|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.
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.
|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.
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:
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.