New research revealed today by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare uncovers the demographics of eyecare benefits in the workplace. The research took place among over 500 senior members of staff with a decision-making HR remit in UK companies.
Age and condition differences
Helping to reduce minor ailments like headaches and eyestrain was considered by the employers to be the most relevant benefit of eyecare for younger employees, aged under 40 years. However, views changed as employee age increased. Helping to look after and save eyesight, along with helping to detect and monitor more serious conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, were thought to be the most relevant benefits of eyecare for the more mature employees, aged over 40 years.
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said:
“it is interesting that employers recognise the much wider benefits of eyecare but relate these more to older employees than to those aged under 40. It is true that some eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, are more common in those over 40, but there are still many eye conditions that can create problems and even sight loss in people of all ages.
“Equally, the wider systemic health conditions that can be detected through eye examinations, like diabetes, cancers, multiple sclerosis and thyroid problems, can affect young and old alike.’
Take-up age and gender differences
The research went on to show that the take-up of eyecare benefits is also thought to be affected by age and gender. A quarter of employers, 25%, thought women are more likely to take up eyecare benefits than men. Nearly half, 48%, thought employees over 40 years of age are most likely to take up eyecare benefits, and just 4% of employers thought employees under the age of 25 were most likely to take up eyecare benefits. The majority, 52%, thought women over 40 were the most likely category of employees to take up eyecare benefits.
Jim Lythgow continued:
‘It is really important that employers continue to communicate the worth of eyecare to employees of all ages and both genders. A full eye examination does so much more than just check the ability to see clearly. Eyecare can often help with minor ailments like headaches and eyestrain, which may in turn help to improve the productivity of employees. It can also help to detect and monitor much more serious conditions of the eyes and the health in general, and may be a factor in an employee seeking treatment before a condition becomes more acute or even sight- or life-threatening.’
Lisa Baker, Editor of HR News knows only too well how vital eye tests can be.
Her recent eye test uncovered high blood pressure, as well as some eyesight changes linked to the condition. She says:
“The eye test took about 40 minutes out of my day, that’s all, and probably saved my life.
“The optometrist spotted some pinching of the vessels due to high blood pressure, and recommended an urgent visit to my GP who diagnosed very high systolic blood pressure. Had that continued, I would risk further eyesight damage but more importantly the extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke, and can also cause heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia.
“My blood pressure is now well controlled with simple medication – and I’m very grateful for that simple visit.”
For further information eye health visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health