Employers and employees aren’t seeing the health and productivity boosts that would be possible if more employees took advantage of their vision benefit, especially in an aging workforce. According to Transitions Optical, Inc., nearly half of employees aren’t taking advantage of their vision benefit, by either not enrolling (24%) or by not using their benefit to receive an eye exam (32%). Transitions Optical offers four reasons why employers should take eye education seriously.

1. If you can’t see well, you can’t work well. – 1 in 4 employees, age 45 or older, has to take breaks to rest their eyes at work, because they hurt or feel tired. Unfortunately, even slightly miscorrected vision — so slight an employee may not even notice — can reduce productivity by up to 20%.

2. Mental health and eye vision are connected – Vision problems can worsen mental decline and depression – issues that are already a heavy burden on today’s workforce. Older employees with poor vision are 5 times more likely to develop cognitive decline without dementia than their peers with very good or excellent vision. Untreated poor vision in the elderly is also linked to actual dementia. For instance, older adults with poor vision without intervention (such as eyecare visits and cataract surgery) are almost 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

3. Eighty percent are bothered by glare – Almost all Americans say glare affects their vision outdoors, and 7 out of 10 agree that their eyes are sensitive to light. The right eyewear can help employees counter their issues with light and glare sensitivity.

4. Employees think vision benefits are important – More than 90 percent of employees agree their vision benefit will be more important to them as they age. Nearly all employees say it’s very important to them that their vision benefit offers the latest lens technologies.

Employees have an overall low awareness of the eye/overall health connection. For instance, half don’t know that smoking can affect their eyes. Many diseases can be detected by an eye exam at an early stage, when preventive steps can still be taken to avoid the disease or minimize its impact.

www.EyeSiteOnWellness.com, sponsored by EyeMed, is a complimentary resource employees can access anytime, anywhere. Featuring useful tools, including customizable Wellness Calendar and Wellness Library, the site makes it easy to keep informed and aware of the importance of regular vision care.