The College of Optometrists

Principles of examining patients who work with display screen equipment

A233
You have a duty to carry out a full eye examination when examining patients as part of their entitlement under the Regulations from the Health and Safety Executive. The Regulations also give employers responsibilities to provide employees with ergonomically suitable workstations and working equipment.82 
A234
Using a screen or computer can be visually demanding and may cause asthenopic symptoms that are not apparent when the patient carries out other work. Use of the computer does not cause the eye problem. Visually related symptoms can also be due to ergonomic factors or poor maintenance of hardware.
A235
When a patient who is an employee takes up their entitlement under the Regulations, perhaps as a result of visual problems when using a screen or computer, you should: 
  1. carry out a full eye examination to determine the cause 
  2. ask the patient to describe their workstation and its environment
  3. give appropriate advice, including ergonomic information, if appropriate
  4. provide them with a prescription or written statement, as appropriate, and
  5. maintain confidentiality of clinical information at all times and only provide clinical information to an employer if it is relevant to the employee’s DSE work and only if you have obtained the patient’s consent. You must follow the guidance on obtaining consent. See section on Consent.
A236
You may also provide a report to the employee and employer (with the employee’s consent), which should: 
  1. state clearly whether or not the employee needs spectacles specifically for their DSE work 
  2. include any prescription for a corrective appliance for DSE work, and
  3. recommend when the employee should be re-examined, under the terms of the Regulations.

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