Despite reporting a strong interest in their company vision benefit – today’s aging US workforce isn’t fully taking advantage of it, according to Transitions Optical’s annual Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey. By missing out on a critical preventive care opportunity they are leaving themselves at higher risk for age-related vision problems, eye diseases and chronic conditions that impact eye health and compromise productivity.
Baby Boomers (ages 45-64) are only slightly more likely than younger employees to enroll in their vision benefit (79 percent vs. 75 percent). Similarly, 34 percent of Baby Boomers and 23 percent of those ages 65+ who enroll do not utilize their benefit to receive a comprehensive eye exam. The survey was conducted online by Synovate (Ipsos) in October 2011, among 2,011 full-time, adult US employees whose employers offer vision benefits. “A quality vision benefit is important for everyone, but especially for employees ages 45 and older, who are more likely to experience vision problems that hurt job performance. The Baby Boomer age group also has a higher risk for developing costly eye diseases and whole body conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, all of which can be detected through comprehensive eyecare, and addressed with the right eyewear to correct, enhance and protect vision,” says Pat Huot, director, managed vision care, Transitions Optical. “With ongoing medical cost concerns among employers and employees alike, our survey findings have flagged a serious lost opportunity to help lower potential healthcare expenditures and boost productivity, and for consumers to take greater control of their health outcomes in the future.”
While the survey showed slight improvement over the previous study, “not having vision or eye health problems” remained the most commonly cited reason for not enrolling in a vision plan (32 percent vs. 36 percent in the previous study) – showing a continued lack of understanding of the importance of preventative eyecare.