Evidence Links Vision Benefits to Healthy Vision Habits, NAVCP Reports

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.—With the annual open enrollment period set to begin for millions of Americans over the next several weeks, the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP) is stepping up to emphasize the correlation between vision benefits (in employer health plans) and healthy eyecare habits.

In a statement issued Tuesday, NAVCP also reported the results of extensive research that show vision benefits are a “good consumer value and encourage meaningful health habits.”

“The correlation between having a vision benefit and good eye health habits has never been clearer,” NAVCP executive director Julian Roberts said in a statement. “More than 87 percent of Americans with a vision benefit intend to get an eye exam within the next 12 months compared to only 67 percent of those without a vision benefit. Once they have the exam, 67 percent of those with a benefit will get new eyewear compared to only 34 percent of those without a benefit,” he added.

The findings come from an independent analysis that focalCenter conducted in June 2016, with the data in the report derived from a continuous 16-year consumer study with a sample size that includes 110,000 U.S. residents, 18 years and older, NAVCP said. Respondents are surveyed regarding their eyewear purchasing and wearing habits, including eye exams, prescription (Rx) lenses, frames, contact lenses, exams/purchasing frequency, managed care vision, and refractive surgery.

Roberts cited cost as “the top reason Americans without vision benefits do not get an eye exam or purchase prescription eyewear.” He also noted that vision care insurance premiums, especially for employer-sponsored plans, “are very reasonable and help members to afford the quality care they want for themselves and their families.”

Enrollment in vision benefits during the past five years has increased almost 20 percent, which raises the number of Americans who have vision benefits to more than 50 percent of the population, according to NAVCP. In addition, more than eight out of 10 employers now offer a vision benefit, the association reported.

Optometric health experts agree that regular eye exams ensure changes in vision are detected and the patient has an accurate prescription. Even small changes in vision can impact productivity, especially in an economy where the use of digital screens and other vision-dependent tasks are commonplace, NAVCP stated.