Eyesight tests and workstation assessments

Eyesight tests

Work with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) does not cause any damage to eyes or eyesight. The purpose of testing vision and assessing workstations is to enhance comfort and efficiency. Minimum standards for any workstation are as follows:

  • Adequate lighting
  • Adequate contrast, no glare or distracting reflections
  • Distracting noise minimised
  • Leg room and clearance to allow postural changes
  • Window covering, if needed, to minimise glare
  • Software appropriate to the task
  • Adjustable, stable, readable, glare free screen
  • Adjustable, legible keyboard
  • Work surface space for flexible arrangement of equipment and documents
  • Stable, adjustable chair
  • Footrest if user needs one to reach the floor

Activities of DSE users should be planned so that daily work is periodically interrupted by breaks or changes of activity in order to prevent fatigue and to vary visual and mental demands. Such breaks should occur at least once every hour.

DSE users will only be offered special spectacles where normal spectacles cannot be used and the result of a vision test shows this is necessary. Special spectacles are those that are prescribed specifically to correct vision defects at the viewing distance for DSE work. These are only needed for a small minority of people.

Multi-focal spectacles can cause adverse health effects due to repeated adjustments to the head and neck position or adopting awkward posture. The decision with regard to the most suitable spectacles will require information about the nature of the work, the workstation and workplace layout. If repeated adjustments to the head and neck position or adopting awkward posture are necessary to use multi-focal spectacles, then these should be avoided.

DSE users will be asked to produce a recent display screen equipment self assessment or to request one from their departmental Health and Safety Co-ordinator. The Nurse will arrange an appropriate eye and eyesight test with an approved Optician where necessary. The frequency of vision tests will vary between individuals and will be determined by the Doctor and the Optician.


Page last modified 25 September 2012.

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