Eye problems related to working in front of a computer screen can occur at any age and should not be taken lightly. Since vision tends to change gradually, those affected do not always notice blurred vision straight away. Quick fatigue, headaches, tension in the shoulder and neck area as well as other painful symptoms can be an indication.
Thus, regularly checking your vision and, if necessary, correcting any visual impairment by means of special VDU/computer glasses is essential. The employees are entitled to the following support from their employer:
- The employer is obligated to offer free occupational health checkups to employees working at computer screens. Please take advantage of the optional checkups offered by the occupational health service (BÄD, Betriebsärztlicher Dienst).
- The employer covers the costs of any ophthalmological certificate that might be necessary.
- The employer will cover the cost of any necessary VDU/computer glasses.
The legal basis is the Verordnung zur arbeitsmedizinischen Vorsorge (ArbMedVV - Ordinance on Occupational Health Care).
Road Map to VDU/Computer Glasses (First Pair)
If you do not yet have VDU/computer glasses, please follow these steps for requesting them:
- First, seek advice from human resources on the application procedure, see: Division VI, Section 2, Subsection 2 (Login with your ZDV-Login-ID, then click on ‘Sonstige Themen im Personalbereich’). There, you will receive the following:
- Claim form for VDU/computer glasses (Bildschirmarbeitsplatzbrille, BArbB)
- Overview of the current cost rates for BArbB
- A list of contact details for opticians who are contractual partners of the University of Tübingen and who will make your VDU/computer glasses at the standard rate. (Please note the remarks on cost reimbursement!)
- Make an appointment with the occupational health service (BÄD) and obtain their statement on the claim form.
- Statement by an ophthalmologist (only required if specifically declared to be necessary by the BÄD).
- The statement of an optician on the form (type of lenses, refraction measurement), however, is mandatory!
- Complete the information about your workplace on the back of the form (it is a good idea to measure the required distances before visiting the BÄD!) and have it signed by your direct supervisor, a physician from the occupational health service or an occupational safety specialist.
- Have your VDU/computer glasses made and then submit the invoice, along with the claim form and your bank account information, to human resources for reimbursement.
If a pair of VDU/computer glasses has already been made for you, but you feel that your vision is getting worse, you can receive a new pair of glasses. The earliest this can be done is after two years. A simplified procedure applies:
- An optician must measure the refractive values* anew: A claim for a new supply only arises if the refractive values have changed by at least 0.5 diopters (dpt) (or they have decreased by 0.25 dpt for one eye and increased by 0.25 dpt for the other eye).
- Please note the remarks on cost reimbursement
- Have your VDU/computer glasses made and then submit the invoice to human resources for reimbursement. If the new refractive values are not listed on the invoice, please provide additional documentation showing these values.
* To determine the refraction values, it may be helpful to request that the claim form once more or to download it from the occupational health service (BÄD) and measure the distances again according to the instructions on the back of the form.
Remarks on Cost Reimbursement
The scope of cost reimbursement for the acquisition of a BArbB is governed by a framework agreement between the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Southwest German Opticians’ Association. The contract stipulates that state employees do not pay a premium when purchasing a BArbB if they opt for the standard model, i.e., the most basic version. In this case, “standard” is defined as glasses with single vision lenses, standard bifocal lenses, or office progressive lenses (not standard varifocal lenses!), each with a single anti-reflective coating. The costs of special frame and lens options are not eligible for reimbursement and must be paid individually.
Some opticians in Tübingen have signed on to this agreement and are named as a point of contact for employees by the central administration. They are obligated to provide advance information about the reimbursable standard rate and any additional costs incurred (and to be paid privately) as a result of personal preferences.
In addition, you are free to visit any other optician of your choice; in this case, please check with your optician whether they will make the BArbG at the current cost rates.
The VDU/computer glasses officially remain the property of the employer. However, since the glasses are tailored not only to the changing near vision distances at a particular workplace, but also to the visual needs of individual employees, the staff council presumes that employees typically will be able to keep them even if they leave the university.