RSI/CANS for employees & computer glasses


the rsi leaflet provides general information about rsi,

working with display screen equipment (dse) and ways to prefvent complaints. In addition, you will find software offering instructions on how to optimally set up your workstation (digital self-help instrument) and a link to sign up for a relaxing chair massage. Other topics you can find information on include the RSI prevention software Workrave, the buying of computer glasses and the risks of working on a laptop or tablet.

Anti-RSI programme (Workrave)

To prevent RSI, UT staff members can download the RSI prevention software Workrave. It reminds users not only to take micro-breaks but also to take rest breaks. In addition, Workrave provides exercises and may restrict you to a daily limit. That way, the risk of you developing complaints of the neck, shoulders, arms or hands is reduced to a minimum. You can download and install the software via

Information on computer glasses

For the vast majority of us, reading difficulty increases as we age and usually becomes noticeable when we get to our 40s. This is caused by a naturally occurring loss of elasticity in the eye. Do you find yourself squinting and holding your reading material farther away, or do you have a hard time reading in low light conditions? After some time, problems with looking at the monitor screen may also develop and computer glasses are needed when using a screen. These are covered by the University of Twente for employees.

Below you can find general information on computer glasses, the procedure on how to order them and what the terms and conditions are.

  • Information on computer glasses

    At rest, your eyes are suited to seeing things that are very far away. If you want to read something up close (less than 6 metres), your eyes have to adjust accordingly. With age, the functioning of the eye lens decreases so that it becomes increasingly difficult to see details sharply at short distances. Over time, there comes a moment when reading glasses are necessary to read properly. This problem arises around the age of 40. Sometime after first using reading glasses, the need for separate computer glasses often arises. This occurs because the regular reading distance differs from the reading distance on a monitor. Depending on the dimensions, the screen is normally more than 50 cm away, while normal reading glasses are only suitable for a reading distance of 30 to 35 cm.


    The University of Twente (UT) must arrange an eye test for display screen equipment (DSE) users if you undertake DSE work for more than 2 hours a day and have complaints related to DSE work. 

    DSE work does not cause permanent damage to eyes. However, long spells of DSE work can lead to:

    • tired eyes;
    • discomfort;
    • temporary short-sightedness;
    • headaches.

    DSE work is visually demanding, so it can make someone aware of eyesight problems they have not noticed before (including changes in eyesight that happen with age). You can help your eyes by:

    • checking the screen is well positioned and properly adjusted;
    • making sure lighting conditions are suitable;
    • taking regular breaks from screen work.


    The UT provides an eyesight test and glasses for DSE work if you request one and meet the terms and conditions (see procedure below on how to order computer glasses).

  • Procedure How to order computer glasses


    Computer glasses are spectacles whose strength is adapted to display screen equipment (DSE) work. You can get a prescription for computer glasses if you meet all the conditions below:

    • You use a monitor for more than two hours a day on average;
    • Your eye complaints do not diminish despite measures taken to improve the workplace set-up;
    • Your eye examination at the optician indicates that normal eye correction devices cannot be used and computer glasses are necessary for your work at a monitor;
    • An employee can claim reimbursement for computer glasses once every three years, only earlier if the eye strength changes significantly (> 0.5 SPH) within the three-year period;
    • Additional costs are at the expense of the employee.


    If you have eye complaints due to DSE work and meet the above conditions, the procedure described below will be followed:

    Step 1: Contact the HSEc (safety, health and environment) coordinator of the faculty/department. The HSE coordinator will initially inspect whether the monitor is set in a correct, ergonomic manner; if this is not the case, the workstation will be adjusted.

    Step 2: If adjustment of the workplace is not possible, or if the complaints persist after adjustment, computer glasses can be ordered. Ask your supervisor for a work order number (Unit4) and pass it on to the HSEc.

    Step 3: The HSEc submits the request via the Intersafe system with the work order number. The screen distance can be specified under 'Remarks' in the form if necessary.

    Step 4: You receive an email with details for the optician and select one of the affiliated opticians via this link;

    It is not compulsory to use the affiliated opticians and/or the discount collection. As a consequence, models and prices may differ and the optician cannot invoice UT directly. In this situation, the UT will reimburse (via declaration) a maximum of the costs equal to the fixed price (including VAT) of computer glasses via Intersafe. However, additional costs (e.g. more expensive frames or coloured lenses) are at your own expense.

    Intersafe affiliated opticians are branches of Pearl and Eyewish. Also affiliated are:

    • Hofland Optiek Enschede;
    • Hofland Optiek Oldenzaal;
    • Total Optics Ziemerink, Glanerbrug;
    • OKE Optiek, Enschede.


    Reimbursement prices including lenses applies to:

    • all strengths, including prism correction lenses;
    • CR39 plastic lenses;
    • anti-glare, anti-reflection;
    • anti-scratch (hard coating);
    • all Intersafe frames (titanium, metal or plastic).

    Lens type

    Price for complete glasses

    Monofocal lens (with or without additional reading area) and Varifocal lens.

    € 313,- excl BTW

    € 378,73 incl BTW



    • Extra-thin lenses (for higher strengths) included
    • Thinner types of plastic lenses - price on request

Laptop, tablets and RSI

An ever-increasing number of people are using mobile devices such as tablets and laptops. This is particularly practical for people who travel a great deal, who have more than one workplace in the office or work at different sites, or attend many meetings. However, the use of laptops and tablets carries a greater risk of RSI. Below, you can find an overview of information on the correct use of laptops and tablets in order to prevent health complaints as far as possible.


The use of laptops is discouraged because it results in an unfavourable posture that draws the head towards the screen, because of the low position of the screen. This puts strain on the head and neck. In addition, the small size of laptops leads to a more static body posture that is more likely to cause health complaints.

As such, laptops do not meet display screen workspace requirements as defined in the Working Conditions Act. There is, however, an alternative: using a laptop station. This allows the user to adjust the height of the laptop screen quickly and easily to any height desired, facilitating a suitable working posture. In combination with an external keyboard and an external mouse, it is possible to create a fully-fledged workstation (see photo below).


Increasingly often, both employees and students are using tablets in addition to other devices such as laptops or desktops. Tablets are practical devices for paperless meetings, for example. It does, however, also have a number of disadvantages. Tablets are not comfortable or productive to use for a longer period of time, nor for writing substantial amounts of text. Leaning forward over the tablet places additional strain on the neck and shoulders, which can eventually lead to health problems.

To minimize physical health complaints caused by the use of tablets, it is important not to view or use a tablet as a replacement for a desktop or laptop (including laptop station).

However, a tablet can be used effectively for short-term activities, e.g. retrieving and reading information and (meeting-related) documents and making brief notes.

The following tips can help prevent health complaints:

  1. Place the tablet on a table. Never balance it on your lap or hold it in your hand (the tweezer grip);
  2. Buy a tablet holder or cover that can also function as a stand. This provides a better viewing angle and prevents severe craning of the neck;
  3. Do not work on a tablet too intensively or for too long. If you need to do a great deal of typing, use a computer that allows you to create an ergonomic workstation;
  4. Work in different places so that you vary your posture and movements; that way, you prevent strains.

More information

For more information about the use of tablets and laptops, please contact your faculty and/or department’s HSE-coördinator. For questions about your working conditions, you can initially contact your manager and the HSE-coördinator of your faculty or department. In addition, as a UT member of staff, you have free access to the working conditions consultation (AOS) (the UT's working conditions service). The UT organizes various activities to help you gain a better overview of your lifestyle and improve it where necessary. Check the health and well-being activities on our website.


Please contact HR Services for any further questions. Tel 053 489 8011. 

For ideas, comments or changes to this page, please email

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