Vision care is essential when considering employee wellness, Jeremy Chadwick explains


It’s no secret that staff wellbeing is important for both individuals and the organisations that employ them. We know the value of balanced diets, frequent exercise and mental wellness. Though how often do we consider eye examinations as an important element of preventative care or a crucial indicator of overall health?


According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, each day in the UK 100 people start to lose their sight. Yet one in every 10 British adults has never had an eye examination. Since most eye problems often don’t have apparent symptoms, many wait to get an examination until the damage is already done. Getting a regular eye examination can not only help prevent and detect vision problems, but can also offer a glimpse into overall health. Since the eyes are the only place in the body that provide a clear view of arteries, cranial nerves and blood vessels, comprehensive eye exams, like those from a VSP Vision Care optometrist, enable early detection of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and even brain tumors - and often before symptoms are apparent.

Preventative healthcare


A recent study conducted on behalf of VSP by the Human Capital Management Services (HCMS) Group revealed that a comprehensive eye exam can often detect the first signs of chronic conditions, like:


  • High cholesterol in 62% of cases
  • Hypertension in 39% of cases
  • Diabetes in 34% of cases


The study also revealed that individuals who receive a comprehensive annual eye examination needed less medication to manage their condition, were less likely to have emergency visits and hospital admissions and went to the doctor more frequently.


Value of vision care


Eye examinations are vital for maintaining vision and overall wellness, and it’s clear that individuals who get a routine examination are more engaged in managing their health. But vision coverage is not only a critical component of personal care; employers can also benefit from offering it.


Here are a few reasons that suggests why employers should consider offering vision coverage:


Duty of care to the employee: To fulfil the regulation to provide eye checks, most organisations will be offering a form of eye tests. Ensuring that we give this to staff in a way which helps them in the long term is essential when considering an employer’s duty.


Improved productivity: According to Vision Council, poor vision results in 32 times more productivity lost than from absenteeism alone. Individuals who receive glasses are able to increase their productivity by 35%. This impacts the amount of time people can stay on any particular task, the fewer number of breaks they take and the lack of personal discomfort when doing vision related tasks. It also helps employees avoid mistakes and accidents, which in return saves companies money.


Lower medical costs: Regular eye examinations are an important component of disease management, since they offer early detection of chronic health conditions. The HCMS

Group research also found a 145% return on investment for employers due to early detection with reduced employer medical costs, fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and less employee out-of-office time.


Employee engagement: For many employees disposable income is quite pressured, so eye care can quickly fall lower on to a list of things to do. Employers can help with this by giving employees relative assistance and engaging them to understand the importance of eye care and the connection to overall wellbeing.


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