Vision coverage isn't free to employers but generally, it's money well spent. Every year, employers lose millions of dollars in productivity because of vision problems. It could be something as mundane as an employee being unable to concentrate on a computer screen for long, or misreading a number on a spreadsheet and making an expensive mistake. It could be truck drivers who have trouble reading street signs at night, creating a hazardous condition for themselves and those sharing the road with them, or just adding wasted minutes to delivery times.
According to a study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, there's a direct correlation between computer user productivity and proper vision correction. Computer tasks took much longer when employees were wearing eyewear that wasn't appropriate. The researchers found that the lack of vision correction impacted even those who were unaware they had vision problems. Performance on specific tasks improved after getting glasses or contact lenses by as much as 20%.
Consider: If you have a computer worker who earns $125 a day, and performs 100 actions every day, a 10% productivity increase would add a value of $12.50 a day. That's $500 in an average month, or roughly $3,000 a year for every employee affected. Productivity gains may be even higher for some vision-intensive applications.
Generally, providing a full vision benefits program for employees costs just a fraction of the productivity benefit that a workforce with good vision can bring.
Failure to update glasses or contact lens prescriptions and get new lenses every couple of years can lead to eye strain, frequent headaches, fatigue and distraction in the workforce. All these things affect productivity and workplace morale. If you rely on your workers having good eyesight — to read or prepare documents, work with computer graphics, or simply to drive safely — then the relatively small insurance premiums are a bargain compared to the high costs of a vision-impaired workforce.
By ensuring that employees have adequate vision care including corrective lenses updated every year or as necessary, employers may benefit from lower levels of absenteeism and presenteeism — that is, the tendency of workers to keep coming into work even when they're not performing their best — due to vision difficulties.
Providing vision benefits also reduces the human costs of eye diseases and disorders. Without coverage, many Americans delay making appointments to check for disorders like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Both conditions are quite treatable, especially when caught early, but if not treated they can eventually lead to blindness.
Again, early treatment of these conditions greatly benefits both the employee and the employer. It makes them that much more productive and reliable employees — and increases productivity and profits for your company.
While specifics vary depending on your workforce, industry and the kinds of tasks your employees routinely perform, the return on investment on providing vision care benefits is generally positive.
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