July 27, 2022
The workplace poses myriad visual challenges. Here are the top ways consumers say they need help in how they use their eyes while doing work.
Beyond blurry vision, employees cite light sensitivity, eyestrain from digital device usage, as well as an interest in blue light protection as top reasons they would seek care from an eyecare professional, according to the annual Workplace Wellness survey from Transitions Optical.
The 2022 Workplace Wellness survey found that while almost three out of four employees (73 percent) would seek care from an eyecare professional because of blurry vision, over half (52 percent) would seek care because of light sensitivity, half (49 percent) because of eyestrain from digital device usage, and more than a quarter (30 percent) would visit their eyecare professional because of interest in blue light protection.
Light sensitivity and digital eyestrain can lead to many problems for employees while at work, ranging from trouble seeing, to headaches, to even taking excessive breaks. The survey found that 78 percent of employees report their work productivity and performance has been impacted by either eyestrain/eye fatigue (50 percent), headaches (39 percent), blurry vision (36 percent), discomfort looking at bright screens (33 percent) and/or difficulty focusing on distance objects upon looking up from the screen (33 percent). Additionally, in 2020, a Transitions Optical survey found 67 percent of employees take breaks throughout the day to help alleviate discomfort from sitting behind a screen.
Employees Need to Rest Their Eyes
With 57 percent of U.S. consumers reporting spending more time in front of screens compared to the worst part of the pandemic, employees are prioritizing resting their eyes. Up 10 percentage points from the 2021 Workplace Wellness survey, 57 percent of employees say encouragement to take breaks regularly to rest the eyes/prevent eyestrain would be the best way to improve their productivity or quality of work versus financial assistance for fitness (47 percent), financial assistance for therapy sessions or mental health activities (36 percent), catered lunches with healthy food options (35 percent), meditation breaks (32 percent) or standing desks (28 percent).
With workers preferring remote or hybrid work, increased visual demands on employees’ eyes is likely to continue to be an ongoing trend. According to PEW Research, looking to the future, 60 percent of workers with jobs that can be done from home say when the coronavirus outbreak is over, if they have the choice, they’d like to work from home all or most of the time. This is up from 54 percent who said the same in 2020. Among those who are currently working from home all or most of the time, 78 percent say they’d like to continue to do so after the pandemic, up from 64 percent in 2020.
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Employees Report Willingness to Pay More for Eyeglasses and Premium Lens Options
Increased symptoms of eyestrain and discomfort are likely factors in employees looking to eyewear as a potential solution—even without considering the financial cost—86 percent of employees are likely to spend more than their insurance allowance for a new pair of eyeglasses.
Almost all (96 percent) of the employees surveyed report they are willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for premium lens options including:
• 55 percent willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for UV protection
• 49 percent willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for blue light protection
• 44 percent willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for photochromic lenses
Eyecare professionals’ recommendations can also influence employee purchases, as 88 percent of employees report they are likely to purchase premium lens options if recommended by an eyecare professional.
Additionally, the 2022 Workplace Wellness survey revealed increased employee interest in photochromic lens coverage for children. Fifty-six percent of respondents say they are much/somewhat more likely to enroll in a premium vision plan, with 34 percent indicating they are much more likely—a near five percentage point increase from the 2020 Workplace Wellness survey (31 percent)—that fully covers Transitions lenses for children under 19 years old. This finding may suggest a change in the visual needs of children as they use their laptops, tablets and other digital devices—which can emit potentially harmful blue light—to complete assignments. According to PEW Research , 80 percent of parents say their child aged 5 -11 uses or interacts with a tablet or computer, while 63 percent say the same about smartphones.
“Employees’ eyes are in overdrive. Our research reinforces the importance of eyewear and premium lens options when it comes to helping to protect and preserve employee eye health,” said Jonathan Ormsby, senior key account manager, Transitions Optical, “With many employees indicating they would seek care from their eyecare professional for light sensitivity, digital eyestrain and an interest in blue light protection, as well as employees expressing they are willing to pay above what their insurance covers for premium lens options, it is important for eyecare professionals to be aware these patient needs continue, so they are able to provide solutions, helping them to see their best.”