Eye tests

There is no specific requirement under Victorian OHS laws for the employer to arrange for eye tests for workers.

The WorkSafe publication Officewise: A guide to health and safety in the office gives the following advice:

The purpose of eye tests for VDU users is to identify and correct pre-existing visual defects that may cause discomfort as a result of the visual concentration needed for many VDU tasks. Some organisations have an agreement for vision testing for all VDU users.

The ACTU Guidelines on Screen Based Work recommend that the risks of working on VDUs need to be minimised, and issues such as breaks, level and quality of lighting and so on should be considered. With regard to eye testing, the guidelines give this advice:

An initial vision and eye assessment for workers required to perform screen based work should be carried out by an optometrist or opthamologist who is acceptable to both the unions and management. Additional vision and eye assessments should be carried out whenever screen based workers experience discomfort or ill-health that might be associated with their screen-based work, and at intervals not exceeding two years.

Eye tests should include a slit lamp biomicroscope examination of the lens to check for incipient or congenital cataracts. Vision tests should include, as a minimum, tests for distance visual acuity, near visual acuity and oculomotor coordination. Workers whose vision needs correction should be provided with corrective devices appropriate for their work.

The costs of tests, professional consultants, and corrective eyewear should be borne by the employer but the choice of physician should rest with the employee.

Note that this is ACTU policy, and the basis for workplace negotiations. Many workplaces have such policies in place.

See Also: Computers and visual display units - what are the guidelines?

Contact your union for further assistance and advice.

Last amended June 2015