Prevent Blindness America Launches Vision Benefits Initiative

Prevent Blindness America has launched Sight Saved, a Web-based initiative designed to educate employers about the importance of providing vision benefits to their employees and to encourage workers to schedule regular, comprehensive exams and wear proper eyewear to enhance and protect their vision.

With rising health care and insurance benefits costs, some organizations might equate adding vision care coverage to existing insurance plans with unnecessary expense. According to Prevent Blindness America, however, this type of coverage actually can reduce cost and create a healthier work force.

The nonprofit eye health and safety group cited a nationwide survey that found:

• Vision disorders are the second most prevalent health condition in the United States.
• Eleven million Americans live with uncorrected vision problems.
• Of a $51.4 billion total annual economic impact that adult vision problems bring to the United States, an estimated $8 billion is attributed to lost worker productivity.
• Two-thirds of Americans state they would be more willing to get an eye exam if they had insurance coverage.
• 63 percent would sign up for vision care coverage if given the opportunity.
• Only 17 percent of employers offer vision plans.

Sight Saved

As part of Prevent Blindness America’s Healthy Eyes Vision Wellness Program, Sight Saved advocates to federal and state government on the importance of vision insurance coverage benefits in relation to overall health. The Web site, http://sightsaved.org, contains information about vision in the workplace and how vision benefits can assist employees; public health resources; and access to other Prevent Blindness America materials and programs.

Many vision plans cover a regular, comprehensive eye exam, which not only allow employees to maintain their proper eyeglass prescription, but also serve as a way to detect potential eye and systemic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, neurological disorders and brain tumors, before they become a health care burden. In addition, some vision plans offer discounts or full coverage for vision correcting glasses or contacts.

“Our goal is to inform companies that providing information and access to quality eye care as part of a comprehensive wellness program can actually save money as well as protect workers,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “We know that in the United States, $8 billion is attributed to lost worker productivity due to vision problems. We encourage businesses to contact us to find out more about our free programs.”

To learn more, visit http://www.preventblindness.org.

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