May is Healthy Vision Month, which makes it a spectacular time to review vision benefit offerings and communicate to employees and plan participants the importance of eye care. According to the 2022 Employee Benefits Survey, more than half (62%) of U.S. employers offer vision benefits.

For benefits professionals, tailored messaging will help your communications be seen and your benefits utilized. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides resources on the importance of eye exams. When communicating the value of your vision benefits, here are two workforce populations to consider targeting.

The Spice Girls Generation

Millennials (an estimated 35% of the workforce) fall roughly within the 30 to 40 age range. A comprehensive eye exam is recommended for nearly everyone at age 40, even those who don’t yet notice the need to hold reading materials farther away from their eyes.

This increasing farsightedness—called presbyopia—usually begins in one’s late 30s to mid-40s, when the eye’s lens (located behind the pupil) becomes less flexible, making it harder to read and focus on near objects, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It’s a normal part of aging, but since it will gradually worsen between ages 40 to 65, routine eye exams and reading glasses or other correction options will be needed to maintain healthy vision.

A comprehensive exam will look for early signs of these eye diseases:

  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Age-related macular degeneration.

Read the full article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Working Parents

Working parents may be interested to know about the connection between vision and learning or reading difficulties in children. Reading glasses for children—called low plus lenses—are prescribed to support the focusing skills necessary for near-vision activities. Recent research has shown that wearing low plus lenses for reading reduces the strain on the visual system while improving reading skills. Read the Optometrists Network’s full list of FAQs on vision and learning difficulties, answered by Dr. Russel Lazarus.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises parents to seek a comprehensive eye exam if their child has a learning disability, developmental delay, neuropsychological condition or behavioral issue.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children aged three to five years to find conditions such as amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” which can be treated effectively if caught early. If left untreated, it can cause permanent vision impairment.

See the Benefits

Vision insurance typically includes coverage for glasses, contact lenses and preventive screenings. Data from the 2022 Employee Benefits Survey indicates that 62% of U.S. employers offer vision insurance as an employer-paid benefit. Employer-paid offerings vary between employer types: 70% of public employers, 83% of multiemployer plans and 57% of corporate employers offer employer-paid vision benefits. For plan sponsors looking to build and retain talent, a comprehensive health plan that includes vision benefits is increasingly essential.

Encourage your employees and their family members to make vision a health priority in May.

Jenny Gartman, CEBS

Senior Content & Information Specialist at the International Foundation Favorite Foundation Member Service: Personalized Research Service Benefits Topics That Interest Her Most: Mental health and retirement security Personal Insight: Jenny likes spending time with family, knitting, reading memoirs and going for walks around the neighborhood.

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