When it comes to preventative care for Americans, vision care exams are often overlooked until a vision impairment occurs. There are also misconceptions about the affordability of vision care, which deters many from visiting an eye care professional regularly. However, the connection between vision care and overall health is significant. Vision care exams do more than measure your ability to see — they also allow for the early detection of over 30 health conditions, which can ultimately lead to improved health outcomes and significant savings across the board.
Did you know that 177 million Americans need vision correction? This is concerning, especially considering 12.2 million Americans don’t get the vision care they need. In addition, over 500,000 children in the United States have vision impairment. Unaddressed vision problems in children can negatively impact their ability to perform well in school. Yet, 48% of parents with pre-teen kids have never taken their children to an eye care professional.
Vision correction is critical in the workplace as well. Whether an employee is handling heavy machinery or filing spreadsheets on a computer, healthy vision is necessary to get the job done as efficiently and effectively as possible. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and astigmatism, digital eye strain, and workplace eye injuries all slow down productivity.
Routine vision care is a necessity when it comes to correcting vision. However, a routine vision care exam is much more than just identifying vision loss. One can learn a lot about your overall health from a vision care exam because they let eye care professionals take a non-invasive look at the body’s blood vessels. This means that eye care professionals may be able to catch serious systemic diseases early, such as diabetes, dementia, and hypertension.
A vision care exam can detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol and predict stroke risk. One study found that, in one optometric practice alone, 21 percent of patients tested were found to have high blood pressure. Of these, 66.7 percent did not know they had elevated levels.
During a vision care exam, an eye care professional may notice leakages in the small capillaries in the retina. Those telltale leakages are a sure sign that the patient has diabetes. In fact, 20 percent of people first learn that they are diabetic through the results of a vision care exam.
Eye function has been linked to several brain functions, most notably cognitive function. For example, a 2017 study found that seniors with visual impairment were up to 2.8 times more likely to have cognitive dysfunction or dementia.
It’s no surprise that cost is the top health care concern for Americans and that people are searching for ways to keep their health care costs down. Routine vision care can help control overall health care costs by identifying vision problems and other costly health conditions.
However, false perceptions about purchasing vision insurance stop people from getting routine vision care as often as they should. The true cost of managed vision care might surprise you, especially when compared to the price of other common household expenses throughout the year:
There are many reasons why routine vision care is critical. For starters, vision care exams offer a way to identify a myriad of health conditions, improving overall health and lowering health care costs for members, brokers, and employers. Routine vision care also sets children up for success in school, where 80% of learning is visual. Even though many schools offer in-school vision screenings, 75 percent of them miss vision problems. When it comes to eye health in the workplace, access to vision benefits has been shown to boost productivity by allowing employees to take better control of their visual health.
Be sure to schedule your vision care exam today and make a vision care exam part of your annual preventative care routine!