Eyesight Valued, but Most Workers Lack Vision Coverage

A new report by the Vision Council shows only 17 percent of employers offer vision benefits, while 120 million Americans suffer from some type of vision problem.

The report, Vision Care: Focusing on the Workplace Benefit, examines consumer and business perspectives on vision care and trends in vision care coverage. According to the report, two-thirds of Americans say they would be more willing to get an eye exam if they had some coverage, yet only 17 percent of employers report offering vision insurance. Vision benefits lag behind health and dental benefits, with as many as 44 percent of employers offering dental coverage.

“We know that in today’s tough economy everyone is taking another look at their finances,” said Ed Greene, CEO for the Vision Council. “As the second most prevalent health condition in the country, vision disorders affect individuals and businesses, making vision coverage an important benefit for both groups.”

Vision health is highly valued by most Americans, according to the National Eye Institute. When asked what conditions would most affect their day-to-day living, a majority of Americans rated loss of eyesight as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

“Regular eye examinations are an important part of helping Americans maintain their health,” said ophthalmologist Elaine G. Hathaway, M.D. “In addition to detecting vision problems and asymptomatic eye disorders, routine eye exams by an eye care professional can detect major health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

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