Four in 10 (40%) UK office workers admit to working in front of screens for more than two hours without a break, a survey by Specsavers has revealed.
While many opticians recommend the 20-20-20 rule – which suggests taking a break of at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes and looking at least 20 feet away – 84% of UK employees work much longer than 20 minutes without any respite, the study found.
Commenting on the findings, Giles Edmonds, clinical services director at Specsavers, said: “This should be a real eye-opener for both employers and employees alike. Eye health is fundamental to employee wellbeing, yet it seems not enough is being done to prioritise it, which could impact wellbeing and productivity.”
Nine out of 10 (90%) survey participants believed it was essential to get their eyes examined every two years. Out of the respondents who did not get regular tests, around 40% felt they did not need a test, 30% considered tests to be too expensive, 22% struggled to find the time, and 8% were unsure of how to schedule appointments.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are legally required to fund eye tests for employees using visual display units (VDU) or display screen equipment (DSE).
Working on screens was considered the most tiring activity by 29% of the survey respondents. Tasks requiring prolonged periods of standing (17%) and in-person meetings (14%) were also identified as reasons for tiredness.
Edmonds added: “People should be mindful of the effects of working long hours at a stretch.”