Spending eight hours in front of the screen is a big task for our eyes, with excessive screen time leading to fatigue and significant eye health issues.
Optimal eye health is obviously important for our wellbeing, but did you know it also has a big impact on our productivity?
Ensuring employees have regular eye checks and are on top of their eye health can go a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace and staff morale.
Optometry Australia is raising awareness of workplace eye screenings, their importance and the benefits they offer employers.
So first off, what is a workplace eye screening?
While usually conducted at a clinic, eye screenings or vision screenings can also be conducted within the workplace as part of a business's efforts to support their employees’ health and wellbeing.
Eye screenings are relatively short tests to determine if employees are having difficulty seeing and if they are long or short sighted.
The test involves an eye chart with a series of letters on the wall becoming smaller the further down the chart they go. The patient is tasked to cover each eye and read the descending letters; from this, an optometrist can determine the basic quality of their vision.
It’s important to note that eye screenings are different from eye examinations, and merely act as a preliminary test to identify any potential problems that will then be investigated further in a comprehensive eye examination at the optometrist's clinical rooms. A vision screening does not replace a comprehensive eye exam.
What problems can workplace eye screenings uncover?
Workplace eye screenings enable optometrists to identify vision problems among employees and offer solutions.
These can include:
- Digital eye strain - Employees working with long exposure to screens are susceptible to eye strain. When we focus on something up close for too long, and don’t adjust our line of vision or relax our eye muscles, the eyes fatigue and tire out. This may lead to sore, dry or irritated eyes.
- Posture - You might not think so, but incorrect prescription glasses can cause a negative impact on an employee's posture. This occurs as people compensate for suboptimal vision by moving closer or further away from screens, or tilting their head up or down, putting unnecessary pressure on their back. This is particularly important for those who wear multifocal glasses. Even a few millimeters of misalignment or incorrect positioning of multifocal glasses, can lead to vision and postural issues.
- Headaches - When focusing or staring at a screen for extended periods of time, or by wearing an incorrect prescription, our eyes can become strained and tired. As a result, headaches can develop.
- Safety and lighting - Your workplace may have employees working with hazardous materials or chemicals, or doing specialised tasks that require finer vision or different lighting conditions. The optometrist will ascertain the safety goals of the organisation, as well as know the standards set by legislation, and make sure that eye safety issues are addressed. This may involve evaluation of safety glasses standards and the employees' visual environment.
What are the benefits of workplace screenings?
Workplace eye screenings can help to reduce sick leave and workplace accidents associated with poor health, while encouraging employee morale, productivity and retention.
Specific benefits could include:
- Reduced sick leave - Encouraging regular health checks allows businesses to identify early potential illness or health concerns and act preventively.
- Workplace safety - Regular and consistent checkups reduce the risk of workplace incidents as a result of poor vision or eye health. This is especially important for those operating in work environments with machinery.
- Productivity - Ensuring employees have optimal vision enables them to perform at their best, complete tasks faster and avoid fatigue associated with strained eyes.
- Employee morale and retention - Workplace health screenings help businesses demonstrate to employees that they are valued and that their health is a priority. This makes staff feel appreciated within the workplace, therefore encouraging employee retention.
To improve the productivity of your employees and promote a happy and healthy workforce, use our Find an Optometrist search function and speak to an optometrist about scheduling a workplace eye screening. Workplace vision screenings are not covered by Medicare bulk-billing and optometrists will privately bill for their professional services or come to an agreed arrangement with the workplace.