The eyes have it

Giving 150 million people in need access to specs could boost the global economy, according to the World Health Organization. (If you’d like to read the WHO research paper, you can find a PDF of it here: )

It’s a question of productivity, say the WHO researchers. They estimate that uncorrected visual impairment in people aged 16 to 50 years costs the world economy $121.4 billion.

That’s a lot of squinting.

“If each affected person was provided with appropriate eyeglasses, we estimate that there may be a net economic gain, even if up to $1000 was spent per person to do this,” said Dr Tasanee Smith, from the Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA), who worked with researchers from the International Centre for Eyecare Education (Australia) and Africa Vision Research Institute (South Africa).

“Eyeglasses are a low-cost intervention,” she says, “however, many less economically developed countries lack basic infrastructure for distribution and training and have insufficient equipment and personnel to provide eyeglasses to those in need.”

While this news seems, perhaps, a bit left-of-centre for small businesses here in Blighty, it’s still worth thinking about. We all spend a lot of time in front of our computer monitors and, with a tendency to work more hours, we may put off going to the opticians for a bit longer than we should.

Another thing for us small businesses to consider is the health and safety implications.  The HSE regulations state: ‘Every employer shall so plan the activities of users at work in his undertaking that their daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity as reduce their workload at that equipment.’

At Euroffice, because we are an Internet business, most of us spend an awful lot of time looking at computer screens. Because of this we’ve ensured that each of our employees has read the HSE guidance document on using visual display units; you can find a PDF of it here:

We love the Internet and we love reading about office stuff online.. but we also love our eyes so even we have to sometimes, switch off the computer and go and do something less interesting instead!

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