Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Vision Benefits Underutilized by Older Workers

The annual Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey conducted by Transitions Optical, Inc. finds that today’s aging U.S. workforce isn’t fully taking advantage of vision benefits provided by companies, and they are "missing out on a critical preventive care opportunity and leaving themselves at higher risk for age-related vision problems, eye diseases and chronic conditions that impact eye health and compromise productivity." Specifically, the survey found that baby boomers (ages 45-64) are only slightly more likely than younger employees to enroll in their vision benefit (79% vs 75%), and the 34% of baby boomers and 23% of those ages 65+ who enroll do not utilize their benefit to receive a comprehensive eye exam.

According to the survey, employees’ actual experiences with many vision-related issues do increase with age, but even older employees had limited awareness of these changes. Thus, for example, half of baby boomers were unaware that they may have more trouble seeing far away or seeing well in dim lighting as they grow older. Similarly, three in 10 were unaware of the increased risk for eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Employers were also cited for not taking appropriate steps to make sure employees understand their vision benefit. While only 18% percent of employees reported that their employers do not communicate to them about their vision benefit, nearly 60% percent of employers provide only basic vision plan information during the open enrollment period and only 13% of employees said their employers also include information on the importance of eye health.

Source: Transitions Optical, Inc. Press Release (January 31, 2012)

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