More than six in ten employersnow offer a stand-alone vision plan, which could be eitherinsurance or a discount plan. (Photo: Shutterstock)

|

As workers log in more screen time, their vision can bedetrimentally affected–and so can their productivity, according toGuardian Life's study, "Coming Into Focus: The Role of Vision Benefits andEye Care in Health & Wellness."

|

Guardian Life polled 2,000 workers for its 7th Annual WorkplaceBenefits Study, and found that on average, respondents spend 5.3hours a day in front of a computer screen. But that average risesto 11.8 hours when time spent on smartphones, tablets and watchingtelevision are factored in.

|

"Increased screen usage appears to be taking a toll on thenation's vision health, with many adults spending most of their dayon screens," the authors write. "Even minor vision problems canreduce productivity by up to 20 percent, mainly due to workers withimpaired vision needing additional time to complete theirwork."

|

Related: Vision problems negatively impacting employeeperformance

|

Many suffer from "computer vision syndrome," including eyestrain, dry eyes, eye irritation, blurred vision and double vision,according to the study. As such, 70 percent of the survey'srespondents consider vision benefits "very important," and four inten who do not have a vision plan say they would enroll if theiremployer made it available.

|

More than six in ten employers now offer a stand-alone visionplan, which could be either insurance or a discount plan, anincrease of seven percentage points since 2012.

|

"Employers offering a vision plan tend to be largerorganizations, and they tend to have richer vision benefitscompared to smaller firms," the authors write. "Yet a growingnumber of small businesses are offering vision benefits to helpattract and retain talent in today's competitive labor market."

|

Nearly a third of employers pay the entire cost of their visionplan, up seven percentage points from 2017. Startups are morelikely to pay for vision benefits, with 92 percent covering all orpart of the cost.

|

"What can help working Americans and their families to maintainhealthy eyes? Practicing good vision hygiene, including gettingregular eye exams, updating corrective eyewear prescriptions andprotecting eyes from blue and ultraviolet rays are excellent waysto keep good vision health in sight," the authors write.

|

Guardian Life also recommends that workers practice thesemeasures to reduce blue light exposure:

  • Practice 20-20-20 vision by looking at something 20 feet awayevery 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
  • Eliminate screen glare by reducing overhead lighting.
  • Keep the screen an arm's distance (about 30 inches) away.
  • Increase font size on devices.
  • Blink to reduce dry eye, which can cause stinging andburning.
  • Use a gel lubricant for the eyes at bedtime to help reduce theeffects of dry eye.

Read more: 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.