If an employee habitually uses display screen equipment (DSE) as a significant part of their day to day work they are entitled to an eye test, paid for by the company. As part of DSE assessment and training they should be advised of this entitlement. See the HSE guidlines Working with display screen equipment (dse) for more information.
Where this test concludes that ‘special’ corrective appliances (normally glasses) are prescribed for the distance the screen is viewed at then the employer is also legally obliged to pay for the glasses. If the prescription is for ‘ordinary’ use and is also suitable for DSE then the employer is not legally obliged to pay.
Some companies choose to offer to contribute towards glasses for both ‘ordinary’ and ‘special’ prescriptions. It is important to note here that any contribution towards an ‘ordinary’ prescription should be treated as a benefit in kind. ‘Special’ prescriptions are dealt with as a business expense and are not treated as a benefit in kind. As such all employees should be asked to keep receipts and details of tests so that costs can be apportioned correctly.
The liability to pay for ‘special’ prescriptions extends only to the most basic 'special' corrective appliance.