Eyecare Important to Employees Amidst Greater Attention to Holistic Health 

Annual survey from Transitions Optical reveals eyecare as an essential element to whole-body wellness and sustained willingness to pay out-of-pocket for premium lens options 

As employees are living holistically healthy lifestyles, they are keeping on top of their eye health, especially as they report issues—like blurry vision and eyestrain—negatively impact their productivity and performance, according to the 2023 Workplace Wellness Survey from Transitions. The increased attention to holistic health may motivate employees to seek care for eye health concerns, and a willingness to pay out-of-pocket for premium lens options. Moreover, the early diagnosis of eye disease or health conditions, light sensitivity, eyestrain from digital device usage and dry, irritated eyes, are cited as top reasons that influence workers to seek care from an eyecare provider. 

From physical, mental, and emotional well-being, employees are taking care of themselves holistically as nearly all (96%) of those surveyed say they are likely to visit a healthcare provider in the next 12 months, most likely including a primary care provider, dentist, or eyecare professional. These findings align with a CVS Health® study that found more than three out of four people report the COVID-19 pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their health in general. Also, nine out of ten (89%) employees partake in holistically healthy activities regularly, including eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating or yoga, or visiting a mental health professional.

Employees Desire for Workplace Wellness Initiatives

Employees’ generalized attention to eyecare translates to the workplace. As 78% of employees report issues with their eyes negatively impacting their productivity and performance at work, eyestrain and blurry vision, in particular, can lead to many disturbances. Specifically, nearly half (49%) of employees cite eyestrain/eye fatigue as negatively impacting their productivity and performance. Also, 45% of employees cite digital eyestrain symptoms like headaches—up six percentage points since 2022—and over a third (38%) cite blurry vision—up two percentage points since 2022—as negative impacts on their productivity and performance. 

Aligning with this finding, encouragement to take breaks regularly to rest the eyes is the top preferred workplace wellness initiative—on trend with 2022 survey resultsiii. From those surveyed in the 2023 annual workplace wellness survey, 56% of respondents prefer their employers encourage them to take eye breaks (compared flat to 57% in 2022) instead of financial assistance for fitness (39%), financial assistance for therapy sessions or mental health activities (34%), catered lunches with healthy food options (33%), meditation breaks (32%) and standing desks (23%).

Eye and Overall Health—A Holistic Approach to Employee Wellness

Employees are also more likely to attend to their eye health, as 67% of workers indicate they will receive a comprehensive eye exam within the next 12 months, compared to 65% in 2021. Self-employed people (53%) are less likely to indicate they will receive a comprehensive eye exam, implying the importance of employers offering vision insurance. According to research from the United States Department of Agriculture, self-employed workers are less likely to have health insurance than those employed by private firms or goverments, regardless of whether they lived in metropolitan or nonmetropolitan areas. Lack of health insurance coverage may negatively affect health as uninsured adults are less likely to receive preventive services for chronic conditions such as diabetes. In contrast, studies show that having health insurance is associated with improved access to health services and better health monitoring. 95% of surveyed employees say they are likely to schedule a comprehensive eye exam in the next year if they knew overall health conditions like diabetes or heart disease could be potentially pre-diagnosed.

When using their vision benefits, 60% of employees report concerns about their eye health as a motivator to visit an eyecare provider, while 58% report prescription updates as a motivator and more than two in five (43%) employees say upgrading their lenses and frames motivates them. 

Top reasons that influence employee desire to seek care from an eyecare provider include:

  • 51% say the early diagnosis of eye disease or health conditions
  • 42% say eyestrain from digital device usage
  • 42% say dry, irritated eyes
  • 41% say light sensitivity

Employees are also attending to the health of their children’s eyes—with whole-body health maintenance a key driving factor. The survey found 62% of employees with children are very likely to take them to get a comprehensive eye exam within the next 12 months. The top reasons that influence employee desire to seek care from an eyecare provider for their children include:

  • 63% say the early diagnosis of eye disease or health conditions
  • 58% say dry, irritated eyes
  • 55% say light sensitivity 
  • 54% say eyestrain from digital device usage

Blue-violet light filtration is more motivating for employees to seek care from an eyecare professional for their children (43%) versus for themselves (25%). 

Not only do over half (53%) of employees spend more time in front of their computer screens now than in previous years—including children—they are also spending more time outdoors. To note, the main source of blue-violet lightvii is sunlight, even indoors. Increased outdoor time may be attributed to three out of four (78%) eyeglass wearers agreeing that all eyeglasses should offer the best in terms of both UV and blue-violet light filters. Outdoor spaces were considered safer than indoors due to the lower risk of viral transmission. Subsequently, nearly half of adults from across the United States now participate in outdoor recreation on at least a monthly basis, and approximately 20% say they were new to outdoor recreation during the initial pandemic outbreak—according to research from Penn State University.

Interest in Premium Eyewear Options on the Rise

Aligning with employees’ increased focus on holistic health and likelihood to attend their annual comprehensive eye exams, among those employees who wear eyeglasses and have vision benefits, nearly all (95%) are willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for premium lens benefits—compared flat to 96% of employees in 2022iii—  including scratch-resistant lenses, anti-reflective or no glare coatings, photochromic lenses, UV blocking, and indoor and outdoor blue-violet lightvii filtration, and premium lens design including a sharper, wider field of view. 

Nearly half (46%) of employees surveyed are willing to pay above what their insurance covers for photochromic lenses, particularly Transitions lenses. 

Additionally, 73% of employees say they are much or somewhat more likely to enroll in a vision plan that offers Transitions lenses when they are armed with the knowledge of their protective benefits.Among all those employees who wear eyeglasses and have vision benefits, 60% say it is extremely important to have Transitions lenses covered by their company’s vision plan versus other photochromic lens brands. 

“The increase in employee likeliness to receive a comprehensive eye exam, and interest in seeking care for light sensitivity, emphasizes the need for employers to offer premium vision benefits,” said Jonathan Ormsby, senior manager, U.S. Managed Care,  Transitions Optical. “Employees continue to be concerned with their health, and this includes their vision. Our research shows that employees are willing to invest in premium lens options, like Transitions lenses, which offer always-on protectionxii and can be key to achieving holistic health and improve productivity.” 

About the Transitions® Brand

Transitions® eyeglass lenses and shields set new standards of advanced performance to provide ever increasing visual comfort, and always blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Product leadership, consumer focus, and operational excellence have made the Transitions® brand one of the most recognized consumer brands in optics. For more information about Transitions® Light Intelligent Lenses, visit Transitions.com or TransitionsPRO.com.

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