Comprehensive eye care is about more than just vision as it can provide a window into a person’s general health – and what’s good for people is good for business, too, says Suzanne Starkey, market director UK & Ireland, VSP Vision Care


When it comes to personal health and well­ness, we know the importance of preventa­tive care. We eat balanced diets and exercise often. But how many of us include regular eye examinations as part of our personal wellness?

Every day in the UK, 100 people start to lose their sight, and according to Eyecare Trust, one in 10 British adults has never had an eye examination.

We rely heavily on our sight to complete everyday tasks, to do our jobs, and to experience the world. Losing our sight is one of the things we fear most, but we tend to neglect safeguarding this all-important sense.

What our eyes say about our health

Often we wait to see an optician until we notice a change in our vision. The problem is that most eye problems can progress without obvious symptoms. Through regular examinations, we are able to keep a better watch on our vision health. Opticians can look for eye muscle imbal­ance, vision disorders, and sight-threatening diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.

More than a sight test

Vision care also has applications beyond just vision cor­rection. Because our eyes are the only place in our bodies that provide a direct view of blood vessels, arter­ies and cranial nerves, a comprehensive eye examina­tion can provide clues regarding the presence of emerging health conditions such as diabetes, hyperten­sion, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, some cancers and tumours, and auto-immune disorders – sometimes years before other symptoms appear. In fact, a compre­hensive eye examination is often the first to indicate signs of chronic conditions, such as:

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

How employers benefit by offering vision cover

Employers can offer vision cover at relatively low cost or no cost to employees – and when employees utilise vision plans to manage their vision and overall health, employers also reap the benefits.

Productivity increases

According to Vision Council, poor vision results in 32 times more productivity lost than from absenteeism alone, and individuals who receive glasses are able to increase their productivity by 35% over a two-year period. This has an impact on the amount of time employees can stay on task and complete assignments correctly. It also helps employees avoid mistakes and accidents, which in return saves companies money.

Improved satisfaction and retention

A recent Metlife UK study found that loyalty and engage­ment improve when employees understand and appreci­ate the value of their benefits. Most working adults and their families get no help from NHS with costs for essen­tial eye care and eye wear, which makes comprehensive vision cover a tangible and valuable employee benefit that can increase staff satisfaction and retention.

It’s easy and effective

Everyone appreciates the value of personal wellness, yet vision care remains a low-hanging fruit. As a key indicator for early detection of vision and overall health conditions, routine eye examinations and comprehen­sive vision coverage are crucial components of an employee wellness programme that truly pays for itself. Interested in learning more? Contact VSP Vision Care to find out how your company can provide high-quality personalised eye care in 2017.


1 RNIB, “Save Your Sight: Spot the Signs,” c2016

2 Eyecare Facts and Figures,

3 Study commissioned by VSP and conducted by HCMS from November to December 2012. Study sample consisted of randomly selected, geographically representative shops with nearly 850 private-practice independent optometrist locations and nearly 450 retail chain locations

4 Vision Council, 2008. “Vision Care: Focusing on the Workplace Benefit”

5 Metlife, United Kingdom Employee Benefits Trend Study, 2014


This article first appeared in Reward's new research report, Wellbeing in the Workplace 2017. To read the report in full, CLICK HERE

VSP logo