With costs deterring people for regular eye tests, an employee benefits package for vision has never been more important
The NHS releases an annual report showing take-up of its optical support. For 2015 it showed NHS eye tests fell by around 23,000, which is the first decrease since the report was first published in 2002-03.
This all-time low for NHS eye tests backs up what other research confirms – a worsening outlook for the nation’s sight. This is despite sight loss being proven as one of our biggest fears.
For employers, the impact – and potential costs – of a workforce with deteriorating vision is significant, even in comparison to the cost of providing company-funded private eye tests.
The good news is that over 50% of sight loss is preventable, and regular eye tests are a crucial tool to help combat the UK’s poor eye health forecast. A corporate partnership with Vision Express offers eye tests to all employees at a preferential rate to your organisation.
At Vision Express, we’ve invested in a number of eye health campaigns to promote the importance of a regular eye test as a way to detect vision correction needs, but also conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and an increased risk of stroke.
However, we know affordability is an issue. Research has shown that 37% of people put off an eye test due to cost concerns and, while the NHS recommends an eye test every two years, just over half of adults in the UK visit an optician once every five years, with 8% never having had an eye test.
To address these issues, in September we marked National Eye Health Week by offering a free eye test for all. We journeyed across the UK with our Vision Van, a mobile unit equipped with the latest in eye testing technology. The results were staggering – one in eight tested was referred to a GP and 73% of people required a new prescription.
Our offer of a free eye test also captured national attention –it prompted an unprecedented surge in eye test bookings, almost doubling the average weekly number of tests booked via our website.
What does this tell us? That people do value their sight and, by setting aside the affordability issue, we can help safeguard sight to last a lifetime.
An employee scheme incorporating vision care is a valuable benefit, helping staff stretch their salary while also fulfilling employer duty of care responsibilities where team members use VDUs or drive on company business.
Although it is the employees’ responsibility to have an eye test if they drive for business, an employer could be liable if an incident occurred and an eye test had not been offered. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates that a third of collisions involve someone driving for work purposes.
Offering healthcare support for all employees encourages staff satisfaction, nurtures productivity and reduces periods of sickness.
With this in mind, Vision Express offers four flexible corporate packages for medium to large organisations. We also have an exclusive offer specifically for small businesses. None involve any up-front costs: three work on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, while the fourth incurs no cost to the employer.
Discount vouchers can be downloaded online and used at any Vision Express store. As the third largest optical retailer in the UK, with 390 stores including Republic of Ireland, our expertise is in easy reach of your employees.
- Vision Select: provides substantial eye-care savings to employees and family members at no extra cost to your company. They are entitled to a thorough eye test, including Digital Retinal Photography (DRP), £30 off complete glasses, and a three month supply of soft disposable contact lenses when joining the contact lens Direct Debit scheme.
- VDU Eye Care: provides a thorough eye test, including DRP, a pair of glasses from our £39 range or a contribution of £45 towards an upgrade, for just £15.
- Drivers Eye Care: provides the same benefits as VDU Eye Care, plus a field of vision test, for just £15.
- Safety Eyewear & Specialist Safety Eyewear: provide a thorough eye test, including DRP, and, with Safety Eyewear: a pair of prescription safety glasses starting from just £35 for single vision, CR39 lenses (representing a 56% saving against private pricing). With Specialist Safety Eyewear: a set of standard CR39 lenses to be glazed into your own safety insert from just £34 for single vision. All Vision Express safety glasses are CE marked and meet industry standards, with Cat® Safety Eyewear and non-prescription options available.
To find out more, visit www.visionexpress.com/corporate-eyecare or call 0115 9882121.