Minimising the effects of the VDU

Today marks the start of the second annual Eye Health week, led by Vision Matters. Last week we looked at the often ignored issue of driver eyecare. This week we are looking at a much more common problem: the effect of visual display units (VDUs).

Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations place the responsibility of attending to the eyecare needs of VDU users on employers, including minimising the risk in VDU work.

Minimising the effects of VDU fits easily with day to day workplace health & safety and some recommendations can increase productivity – so there’s no need to worry about the time implications

Here are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent unnecessary strain and minimise the symptoms of screen fatigue.  

Encourage frequent breaks When working at a computer, your eyes can be focused on the screen for long periods so it is important to take a brief rest and give your eyes a break every twenty minutes or so. This doesn’t have to involve getting up from your desk, the work station can be used to provide a break from the screen.

Make sure there is sufficient space behind screens for staff to be able to look beyond it and relax their eyes. Make workstations ‘eye friendly’. A computer screen should be about 33–60cm from a persons eyes, with the centre of the screen 10-15cm below natural eye level. Documents should be positioned at roughly the same distance from the eyes as the screen to avoid having to re-focus.  

Minimise screen glare  Throughout the day, levels of light and dirty screens can cause an uncomfortable glare. Ask staff to keep the screen clean and adjust it to levels of brightness and contrast that they find comfortable. Screens should be positioned so that windows or other light sources are to the side rather than in front of or behind it.  

Recommend regular eye examinations If eye voucher schemes are already in place, recommending regular eye examinations should be easy – after all you are investing in employee eye health. Staff should be advised to tell their optician how long they have worked with VDUs, the number of hours per day that they work at a screen and any symptoms they may be experiencing.

For more information on Eye Health week visit

Author: Andrew Adams | Category: Blog | 13/06/2011 | 0

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