Research has shown that up to 80% of employees who use computers as a regular part of their daily routine suffer from eyestrain symptoms, including eye discomfort, headaches, dry eyes, and both double and blurred vision.
Meanwhile, a study by the Bradford-based Optegra Eye Hospital in Yorkshire has found that nearly half of all optometrists and opticians have reported an increase in technology-related eye problems over the past five years.
So, with the widespread and growing use of laptops, tablets and smart phones, along with more traditional desktops, it is clearly a growing problem and a classic symptom of an increasingly technological workplace.
Now there is a software solution that can help tackle the problem, one which identifies the early onset of eye problems, indicates those employees who may need to wear glasses for continued computer use and one which fits perfectly into an employee wellbeing programme.
Called eScreen, it is available from VSP Vision Care UK, the British arm of giant US-based eye health specialist VSP Global, a not-for-profit vision benefits and services company with almost 90 million members worldwide.
Developed by optometrists and ophthalmologists, eScreen is optometric software that tests how well employees see in their normal work environment and is ideal for screening those employees who are regular computer users.
It is quick, simple and easy to use and allows all employees to be screened and recorded with no extra work for Human Resources or health and safety teams – the software carries out the entire test and makes recommendations based on the results.
It can be taken by employees online at any location and takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. Employees receive an email prompting them to log in to eScreen and they can take the test at a convenient time to suit themselves and their work flows.
The eye screening assesses a comprehensive suite of vision functions, including acuity, contrast sensitivity and Amsler chart irregularities, a well-known test that indicates signs of macular degeneration.
Results are immediate and provide the option to schedule an appointment online with a VSP network optician if required. VSP offers a large choice of local opticians in-network with full national provider choice.
Increasing numbers of companies are providing employees with regular health checks as part of a flexible benefits package. And there are real advantages in making sure that eye tests are included as part of this health screening process, including increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
Every year across Europe some 123 million workdays are lost through absenteeism, according to the European Forum Against Blindness, which makes a compelling case for regular and thorough eye health screening.
Jeremy Chadwick, Managing Director, EMEA at VSP Vision Care, says eScreen is a fast and convenient way to carry out an online eye screen as part of employee health checks and wellbeing programmes.
“We work in an increasingly technologically-advanced environment where so much is reliant on good eyesight. But this is something we all take for granted without really assessing the long term implications of modern work patterns.
“eScreen allows employees to screen their own eyes without leaving their workstations, or even those who work remotely, and then take action on the results quickly and effectively. It is a perfect case of using the latest technology to tackle potential problems that technology itself may be causing.
“Regular eye screening in this way, leading to thorough examinations with an optician where appropriate, can also help identify health issues such as diabetes and glaucoma, helping make earlier treatment possible and driving better outcomes for employees and employer alike, as well as reducing absenteeism rates.
“It should be noted, however, that this is eye screening and does not replace a full eye examination with a qualified optician,” he added.
eScreen is available at no extra cost as part of VSP’s VDU Eye Care plan, and allows employers to not only improve employee wellness and productivity but, at the same time, meet HSE requirements in providing access to the latest screening and eye health monitoring.