More and more companies across the United States are offering healthcare benefits. A 2019 survey showed well over half of companies offer health insurance, and nearly all firms with 200 or more employees provide it. Among the surveyed companies that offer healthcare, 60% provide dental. The number of organizations offering vision benefits, however, lags behind at 46%1.
Vision may be the least offered of the primary ancillary benefits, but that’s not because eye issues are uncommon. An estimated 195.3 million American adults need some form of vision correction2. That eye-popping number likely includes many of your employees, which presents a clear need for coverage. While cost can be a barrier for some companies, the long-term upside often outweighs the short-term expenses. If you’re an HR rep or another company leader looking into vision for your employees, here are a few reasons to strongly consider it.
3 reasons employers should offer vision benefits
Vision problems make it tough for employees to get their work done, which ultimately affects your company’s bottom line. Blurriness can make it difficult to perform essential tasks, but the issues can go beyond that. Eyestrain may also lead to symptoms such as headaches, burning, itching, back and neck soreness, and light sensitivity — all of which make concentrating and producing quality work challenging.
Depending on the nature of the job, employees may have an increased need for regular eye care. People who use screens for a majority of their workday can develop computer vision syndrome (also called digital eyestrain), which causes eyestrain and its aforementioned symptoms. Studies have found even minor vision problems can decrease productivity for computer workers by as much as 20%, which can add up to a full day’s work by the end of the week3. By offering vision benefits, you can help employees get regular eye exams and corrective lenses or contacts that allow them to see clearly and avoid eyestrain at work.
Show employees you care about their wellness
Eye health is important for every person — not just at work but in everyday life. Offering dental benefits demonstrates to employees that you care about their overall well-being and quality of life. During routine exams, an eye doctor not only assesses a patient’s vision and checks for disorders like glaucoma and cataracts, but they can also identify conditions that affect other areas of the body.
Based on changes or abnormalities within the eye, an optometrist or ophthalmologist can detect signs of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other health problems before patients even notice physical symptoms. With early diagnosis, your employees can then get the necessary treatment from other doctors before the issue worsens. This can potentially reduce their long-term healthcare costs and minimize how much productivity is lost due to sick days and doctor’s appointments.
Increase retention and boost recruiting
Most people want to work at organizations where they feel valued when they knock a project out of the park or meet a tight deadline. But they also want to know their company cares about them on a personal level. Employee benefits help you demonstrate this and are a significant draw to applicants. Unsurprisingly, healthcare is the most attractive benefit for job-seekers5 — even over other common offerings such as retirement plans and vacation days.
Since many organizations don’t offer vision benefits as part of their healthcare package, providing them at your company can give you a leg up in recruiting and retention efforts. Prospective and current team members will see you’re willing to go the extra mile for them, giving you a better sales pitch for promising new talent and potentially making valuable employees more likely to stick around for the long haul.