Keeping an eye on employee healthcare

Paul Gibbons from Westfield Health

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), everyone should have a sight test at least once every two years.

But a recent survey by YouGov showed that nearly a third of UK adults have failed to have their eyes tested in the last 24 months, putting themselves at risk of developing a range of potentially serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma.

Dr Joseph Feder, a board-certified ophthalmologist at the Aurora Health Center, said: “Not all age-related eye conditions are routine. At every eye exam, we are on the look-out for potentially devastating eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD). These diseases often begin 'silently' and, if left untreated, can cause blindness.”

And Clara Eaglen, Policy and Campaigns Manager at the RNIB, said: “Our eye sight can deteriorate as we get older, but sight loss isn't an inevitable consequence of ageing. There are things people can do to protect their vision.

"Wearing the right prescription glasses or contact lenses is essential and regular eye tests, at least every two years, can pick up conditions such as AMD or glaucoma.”

So why are people avoiding regular sight tests? YouGov’s research claims that it’s down to a number of factors, including the cost. Fourteen per cent of the 2,102 British adults questioned admitted they delay getting their eyes tested because they cannot afford the perceived cost.

Under the Health and Safety Executive Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992, in a workplace where staff habitually use display screen equipment such as computers, employers must provide eye tests on request and, in some cases, provide special glasses, too.

Westfield Health’s Chamber Primary Health Plan, which is available to all members of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, includes an optical benefit, which can help employers to meet their requirements. Employees can manage their eye care, booking sight tests at their own convenience and claiming back the cost of their tests and prescription eyewear up to the limit provided.

For more information about the Chamber Plan, visit www.westfieldhealth.com/chamber or call 0845 602 1629, available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

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