RSI/CANS for employees & PC monitor 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

PC monitor glasses

If a staff member indicates having eye complaints due to display screen work, it is recommended to act as follows:

  • Step 1: Contact the HSE coordinator (occupational health and environmental coordinator of the faculty/service department). The HSE coordinator will first inspect whether the display screen has been installed in a correct, ergonomically sound way; if this is not the case, it is advisable to adjust the workplace.
  • Step 2: If adjustments to the workplace are not possible, or if the complaints continue after the adjustments; the HSE Coordinator of the faculty or service department in question fills in the statement of approval (approval of the payment of costs and indicating OFI number).
  • Step 3: The staff member visit one of the affiliated opticians (see for overview:
  • More information on monitor glasses

    beeldschermbrilThe original form Fits! pc monitor glasses is to be presented at the appointment. This guarantees the correct solution against fixed prices. The costs are borne by the faculty/service department in question.

    In all affiliated opticians you can choose from Fits! eyeglass frames, the choice herein is limited. If you choose for a Pearle or Eyewish optician you can also select an eyeglass frame from their benefit collection.

    If in the course of time the pc monitor glasses need to be replaced (for example if your prescription has changed) it is necessary to make a new appointment with the HSE-coördinator. For the correct financial settlement a new form (see also step 2) has to be completed again by the faculty/service department and presented to the optician. It is also important to make sure that the viewing distances are still the same as for the purchase of the previous pc monitor glasses. If these have changed (for example as a result of the purchase of a larger monitor) it is important to measure these new distances and to state this on the new form.

    The trajectory described above ensures an objective assessment of a request for pc monitor glasses. Starting point is a model with monofocal glasses with or without extended reading range, for in more than 90% of the cases this is sufficiently effective. Only staff members who really need monitor glasses are eligible for being provided with such glasses. Following this procedure guarantees the correct solution against fixed prices. The prices Fits! Pc monitor glasses) are only available in Dutch, see annexe 3 of procedure aanschaf beeldschermbril. The costs are borne by the faculty/service department in question.

    Incidentally, it is not obligatory to make use of the opticians mentioned under step 2. A consequence of this is that the models and prices as referred to in this memo, may differ and the optician may not invoice the University of Twente directly. The UT compensate, as a maximum, the prices mentioned in annexe 3 of procedure aanschaf beeldschermbril.

    If you have any questions regarding this subject, you can contact the occupational hygienist at the corporate Human Resources (HR).

  • Procedure for purchasing PC monitor glasses

    1. Introduction to computer glasses, how they work and when you need them

    The Working Conditions Decree includes rules regarding office equipment, furniture, software, the way work is organised, eye tests and the provision of special glasses for people who work using computer screens. 

    As we grow older, our eyesight can start to deteriorate, making it increasingly difficult to see finer details at close range. After a while, there may come a point when we need reading glasses in order to read properly. This problem often starts at around the age of 40. Once somebody starts using reading glasses, they will often need separate glasses for screen work, too – computer glasses. Glasses for screen work will require a different strength to regular reading glasses because we usually sit further away from the screen than when we are reading a book or newspaper. Depending on the dimensions of the screen, we may work up to 50cm away, while normal reading glasses work best at a distance of 30cm to 35cm.

    The lenses of computer glasses are designed so that:

    • you can read text easily at a normal reading distance, and;
    • you can read text and see images on your screen properly.

    It has also been found that people who work using a screen frequently suffer from eye problems (the literature mentions that between 30% and 80% of people who use a computer screen for work experience problems). Despite the large number of eye problems, permanent changes to a person’s vision as a result of working with screens have not been observed.

    These eye problems usually involve one or more of the following symptoms:

    • tiredness in or behind the eyes;
    • occasional blurred vision or double vision;
    • irritated or burning/watery eyes.

    Appendix 1 shows the University of Twente’s regulations regarding providing glasses for screen work. You will find the practical details for this in Section 3 of this procedure. Appendix 2 provides more detailed information about computer glasses.

    2. Legislation relating to computer glasses

    Pursuant to the Working Conditions Decree (Section 2, 'Screen work'), employers have a number of obligations with regard to work involving the use of computer screens. One of the aspects included in the regulations concerns the fact that employees should be given the opportunity to undergo an occupational health check for their eyes and eyesight. If this test shows that computer glasses are needed, these must be provided. It should be noted here that this only involves employees who have to use a computer screen for work for more than two hours every day on average.

    3. Practical details regarding the ‘Computer Glasses Scheme’ at the University of Twente

    If an employee indicates that he or she is suffering from eye problems when doing screen work, the following action should be taken:

    Step 1: Contact the HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) Coordinator for the relevant Faculty or Service Department. In the first instance, the HSE Coordinator will check that the employee’s screen is set up correctly and ergonomically; if this is not the case, the first step is to make changes to the employee’s workplace to ensure that this is the case.

    Step 2: If changes around the workplace are not possible, or if the problems persist even after changes have been made, the HSE Coordinator will complete the ‘Intersafe-Groeneveld’ web form. You will then be notified of the subsequent procedure by e-mail.

    Step 3: The relevant faculty or service will complete the approval statement (to approve the payment of the associated costs and to indicate the OFI number). The employee can then visit an affiliated optician (for an overview, visit:

    All opticians offer a range of Fits! frames, but that range is limited. At the affiliated branches of Pearle and Eyewish, you can also choose a frame from their discount collection.

    If the computer glasses need to be replaced after some time (because stronger glasses are needed, for example), a new application must be completed (via the HSE Coordinator) in order to cover the associated costs, and taken to the optician. In addition, it is important to ensure that the reading distances remain the same as when you purchased your previous computer glasses. If these have changed (because you have a larger screen, for example), it is important to measure these distances again and to state the new distances on the form.

    The above process guarantees that your request for computer glasses will be assessed objectively. Initially, glasses with monofocal lenses or monofocal lenses with additional reading range will be offered; these are effective for over 90% of employees. Only employees who actually need computer glasses are eligible for them. Provided you follow this procedure, you are guaranteed an effective solution at the price indicated (see Appendix 3). The associated costs will be covered by the relevant faculty/service department.

    Incidentally, you are not obliged to visit an optician listed under step 3. However, if you choose a different optician, the models and prices listed in this document may not apply and the optician will not invoice the University of Twente directly. In this situation, the University of Twente will only reimburse you for the costs as indicated in Appendix 3 and no more.

    If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the occupational hygienist at the Human Resources (HR) department.

    Appendix 1: Computer Glasses Scheme for screen work

    1. Employees who experience problems with their eyesight should contact the HSE Coordinator at their faculty/service department to assess whether their screen has been set up correctly and according to ergonomic best practice. If no changes to the employee’s desk or workplace are possible or if the symptoms persist even after those changes have been made, the employee is entitled to computer glasses.
    2. The scheme relates to Fits! computer glasses. The price is then calculated for:
      1. All strengths, including prism correction lenses;
      2. Plastic lenses, including anti-reflective and anti-scratch coating;
      3. Fits! frames (metal or plastic), and at affiliated branches of Pearle and Eyewish you can also choose a frame from their discount collection.
    3. If it turns out that a different solution or model is required for medical reasons, this must be evident from a recommendation from the health and safety service. The faculty/service department may then decide to cover the cost of glasses other than Fits! computer glasses, and glasses costing more than the prices shown in Appendix 3 may be purchased.
    4. Computer glasses are provided once every 3 years if necessary.
    5. The glasses provided are, in principle, a workplace facility and are only intended for screen work and not as a replacement for your own glasses.
    6. The cost of the computer glasses will be covered by the faculty/service department of the employee.

    Appendix 2: Information regarding computer glasses

    As we grow older, our eyesight can start to deteriorate as the lenses in our eyes become less flexible. This deterioration makes it increasingly difficult to see finer details at close range. After a while, there may come a point when we need reading glasses in order to read properly (the average reading distance is around 35cm). This problem often starts at around the age of 40-45. Once somebody starts using reading glasses, they will often need separate glasses of a different strength for screen work too – computer glasses (the average distance for screen working is around 60cm).

    In general, therefore, employees who qualify for computer glasses are ‘older’ and will already need reading glasses for reading. If an employee needs computer glasses, their employer is legally required to provide them if they work using a computer for more than 2 hours a day, on average.

    Computer glasses are specially designed for screen work and are less suitable for general use. Normal glasses, intended for general use, are not covered by the Working Conditions Decree.

    Broadly speaking, there are three different types of computer glasses:

    • glasses with monofocal lenses;
    • glasses with monofocal lenses with added reading range;
    • glasses with varifocal lenses.

    We will briefly outline which target groups these glasses are designed for.

    1.         Glasses with monofocal lenses

    For prolonged computer work, monofocal computer glasses with a working distance of around 60cm are preferable. In most situations, monofocal lenses are adequate and the most suitable. Monofocal lenses are often adequate when reading at 1 focal length; e.g. when the employee consistently uses a document holder. These are particularly suitable for people who can touch type.

    2.         Glasses with monofocal lenses with added reading range  

    For situations where an employee has to read text at a distance of between 40cm and 60cm and normal monofocal reading glasses are not sufficient. Monofocal glasses with extra reading range provide a reading range of 40cm to 90cm and are particularly suitable for desk work (computer work) and work at arm's length (e.g. electricians; laboratory technicians; Cad-cam workers).

    3.         Glasses with varifocal lenses

    Varifocal lenses have a reading zone and a distance zone, and also a transition zone, so that part of the lens can also be used for intermediate distances. In general, regular varifocal glasses are not ideal for prolonged screen work. This is because only a limited part of the lens can be used to view the screen. This means that you will need to adopt an unusual position in order to see the screen, which is not recommended from an ergonomic perspective.

    There are also special varifocal screen lenses which have a larger portion that is useable for screen work than regular varifocal lenses. However, this means these glasses are less suited to general use!

    In practice, not everyone with impaired eyesight will need special computer glasses. The reasons for this include:

    • people who are slightly short-sighted will actually need to remove their glasses when using a computer screen;
    • existing reading glasses (which are no longer strong enough to be used for normal reading) can often be used for screen work.

    Appendix 3:  Fits! price list for computer glasses

    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);
    • all Pearle/Eye Wish frames - collections: TheOne, Seen, DbyD, BeBright. 

    Lens type

    Price for complete glasses

    Monofocal lenses, Monofocal Eyezen lenses; Initial, Active (+), Varifocal Varilux Digitime



    • extra thin lenses (for higher strengths) included
    • thinner types plastic lenses - price on request

    Cost of eye test included in the price. 

    All prices in euros excluding VAT

Laptop, tabletsand 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 welfare 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

My favorites

About my favorites
Add your favorite apps to your bookmarks by using the favorite button

Please wait a moment...