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Transitions Optical and AOA Release Research that Finds Misunderstandings about Online Vision Screenings

It emphasizes the importance of education.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PINELLAS PARK, FL – When it comes to online vision screenings, many employees do not always see the clear picture. In fact, many believe that online vision screenings—often referred to as online vision or eye tests—can serve as a substitute for in-person eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. As online vision screenings become part of the vision benefits conversation, it is imperative that vision plans, employers and providers are educating employees on the difference between an online vision screening and an in-person, comprehensive eye exam.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), online vision screenings are “no substitute for an in-person, comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist.” Aside from correcting vision, comprehensive eye exams can detect a number of vision problems, eye diseases and overall health issues that online eye exams cannot—including glaucoma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

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Comprehensive eye exams can also help to improve employee productivity by diagnosing—and prescribing the correct eyewear for—vision problems that lead to trouble seeing in the workplace. In fact, nearly nine in 10 employees say they experience light sensitivity—a common vision problem for employees who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen or working outside in the bright sun—in the workplace. Additionally, 88% say it negatively affects their work performance, according to the 2019 annual Transitions Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey.

“When employees can’t see well, or are suffering from headaches or eyestrain resulting from light sensitivity, it becomes difficult for them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” said Drew Smith, director, North American channels, Tranistions Optical. “Many people aren’t taking advantage of lens options, such as photochromic lenses, which can help to alleviate symptoms of light senstivitiy in the workplace—and are often covered by or discounted through a vision plan.”

The survey also uncovered the lack of understanding about, and need for education on, the importance of comprehensive eye exams. Half of employees surveyed, for example, think that online vision screenings that provide a prescription are a suitable replacement for in-office eye exams. Millennials were the most likely to agree (57%)—compared to half of Gen Z, Gen X and 36% of Boomers.

“It’s more important than ever to educate employees on the importance of a comprehensive eye exam and the drawbacks of the existing online vision screenings,” said Steven Eiss, OD, Third Party Committee Chair, American Optometric Association. “Online vision screenings are not a replacement for an in-person eye exam with a doctor, and the employee is at risk of missing out on early detection of potentially sight or even life threatening conditions.”

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The misunderstanding of the difference between an in-person eye exam with an optometrist and an online vision screening emphasizes the importance of education—and when it comes to receiving information about eye health, three-quarters of those surveyed say that their eye doctor is their source for information. However, the second-largest source for employees to receive information is their vision plan provider. One-third of employees indicated that is where they get eye health information, making it important for vision plans to provide the most accurate information about online vision screenings to both employers and employees.

In order to locate an eyecare practice, visit Transitions.com or aoa.org. For more information on the benefits of receiving an in-person comprehensive eye exam—including education on the various vision conditions that an eye doctor can identify—visit HealthySightWorkingForYou.org.

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