A recent survey shows that 80% of Americans say the pandemic-prompted increase in screen time put their eyes in “overdrive.” (MicroOne/Shutterstock)

As workplaces consider reopening following the events of the past 18 months, many employees are realizing they’re no longer satisfied with the status quo. In April, four million employees resigned to seek remote work options, faster advancement opportunities or better benefits and compensation. This shift has been dubbed “The Great Resignation.”

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, sticking to static benefits packages won’t likely satisfy your employees. Nearly 70% of workers say voluntary benefits like vision benefits influence retention. Offering high-quality benefits that also gives employees more customization power gives businesses an opportunity to retain existing employees and attract new ones.

Related: Voluntary benefits in 2021: Hit refresh

For many employees, “better” also means “flexible.” Employees should consider benefits that allow customization to suit their needs, such as allowing employees and their family members to select their own covered upgrades.

Not only do great vision benefits help with employee retention, but they also help employers keep health care costs down. According to a study by HCMS Group, employers who offer stand-alone vision benefits experienced $5.8 billion in cost savings over four years. That was due to reduced health care costs, lower productivity losses and turnover rates.

Rising costs are always top of mind when talking health care, and chronic diseases play a major role in driving expenses. By 2030, chronic diseases could cost American businesses $2 trillion in medical costs, plus an extra $794 billion annually in lost employee productivity. High-quality vision care benefits are not only attractive to employees and good for the bottom line, they offer a gateway to early detection. Through a comprehensive eye exam an eye doctor can detect more than 274 health conditions – including diabetes and high blood pressure. Eye care truly is health care, and it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drive better health outcomes.

Case in point: One woman whose annual eye exam flagged a potential problem with her thyroid. As a result, she was referred to a primary care physician for further testing, which led to her receiving a diagnosis for Graves’ disease, a condition that can lead to heart attacks and other heart ailments if not detected early.

Access to vision care is critical right now. A recent survey shows that 80% of Americans say the pandemic-prompted increase in screen time put their eyes in “overdrive.” In fact, two-thirds of respondents report experiencing some degree of eye discomfort every day, and nearly a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than they did a year ago. The survey also found that nearly 60% of Americans report prioritizing a visit to their eye doctor out of a greater interest for their overall health.

Coming out of the pandemic, employers have a unique opportunity to help their employees continue to prioritize their overall health and wellness as they’ve done in the past year. You, and the right vision care benefits, can help encourage this behavior so employees are inspired to take better care of their health and lead longer, more fulfilled lives.

Kate Renwick-Espinosa is the president of VSP Vision Care, a national not-for-profit vision benefits company, providing access to eye care for more than 80 million members and more than half of Fortune 500 companies through a network of over 40,000 doctors worldwide.


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