Offering the Right Eyewear Options Helps
BY JONATHAN ORMSBY
As many employees continue to work in remote or hybrid situations, many are also finding it hard to break away from their computer screens, digital devices or both. This means more exposure to unwanted side effects — such as increased digital eye strain and harmful blue light — which can take a toll on vision and ultimately impact how employees feel and perform.
The silver lining? Premium eyewear options, often covered in full or in part by vision benefits plans, can help to alleviate symptoms —further boosting employee wellness and productivity, while improving an employer’s bottom line. According to the 2021 Transitions Workplace Wellness survey (conducted online among 1,300 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 18-plus, who are employed full time or part time and whose employers offer vision benefits):
- since the beginning of the global pandemic, an increasing number of employees report looking toward eyewear as a potential solution for digital eye strain and blue light filtration
- additionally, nearly nine in 10 agree that wearing lenses that help protect against harmful blue light will make them more productive
- an equal amount say they would be more likely to enroll in a vision plan that specifically covers eyewear that helps protect against harmful blue light.
The visual impact of the digital age
This interest in premium and protective eyewear options is in part because over half of employees report spending more time in front of their work computer screens than they did before the pandemic, according to the 2021 survey.
Among these employees, nearly nine in 10 (85%) are experiencing more digital eye strain — with many also experiencing corresponding symptoms, such as headaches (51%), dry eye (48%), and light sensitivity (29%).
As a result, employees are becoming more concerned about their eye health than ever before, with the survey finding that almost half are more concerned about digital eye strain in general; half are more concerned about light sensitivity and one in three is more concerned about eye damage from harmful blue light.
Seven out of 10 employees indicated that protecting their eye health is more important today than it was before the global pandemic…
It’s all about the eyewear
While cutting back on screen and digital device time can also arguably help, it’s not an option for many employees. Facing increasing visual demands, employees are looking to their vision benefits plans for eyewear options to help protect their eyes and enhance their overall vision. According to the 2021 survey, one- third of employees say they will actively seek out information about blue light eyeglasses, update their prescription, and/or buy new glasses.
Beyond this, the survey revealed a growing interest in photochromic lenses, which adapt to changing light, indoors and out, while offering protection from digital eye strain, harmful blue light and harmful ultraviolet rays. More than eight in 10
employees say that they would be more likely to enroll in a vision benefits plan that specifically covers Transitions® brand lenses.
Time for a vision benefits upgrade
With seven out of 10 employees indicating that protecting their eye health is more important today than it was before the global pandemic — employers who offer premium vision benefits that cover both annual, dilated eye exams and eyewear options that employees both want and need can help them stand out in the crowd.
Known for being low in cost to both employers and employees, vision benefits offer a high return- on-investment for employers. Some of the returns that employers may see include medical cost savings
— since eye health is connected to several sight-stealing eye disease and serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension — and improved employee productivity. (Studies have found that even slightly miscorrected vision can impact productivity by upwards of 20%.) Simply offering an attractive vision benefits plan can even help employers with attraction and retention of top talent.
To help elevate the importance of comprehensive eye exams and quality eyewear available through vision benefits, many vision plans and optical companies offer complementary resources that brokers and employers can access free-of-charge. A variety of employee- and employer-focused tools and education can be accessed at HealthySightWorkingforYou.org.
JONATHAN ORMSBY is a senior key account manager for Transitions Optical. Reach out to him at jormsby@ transitions.com