Time spent behind work computer screens has skyrocketed for employees since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—and they’re feeling the effect, reporting increased digital eyestrain. With research showing increased employee interest in eyewear that helps protect against harmful blue light—and with healthy vision linked to increased productivity—it’s more important than ever for employers to offer premium vision benefits plans.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rising number of employees have been reporting they are looking toward eyewear to help combat digital eyestrain and harmful blue light exposure, according to the 2021 Transitions Optical Workplace Wellness Survey.
Employees also report a growing interest in vision benefits plans that cover premium and protective eyewear options, with nearly 9 out of 10 saying they would be more likely to enroll in a vision benefits plan that covers eyewear that helps protect against harmful blue light.
Fortunately, there are premium lens options covered by many quality vision plans that help to reduce harmful blue light exposure and combat digital eyestrain—and this is good news for employers, considering 9 out of 10 employees agree that wearing lenses that help protect against harmful blue light will make them more productive.
Employee Eyestrain in the Digital Age
Increased interest in protective eyewear is in part because over half of employees report spending more time in front of their work computer screens since the pandemic began, according to the survey. Among those employees with increased screen time, 85% say they are experiencing more digital eyestrain, emphasizing the importance of eyewear when it comes to helping to protect and preserve employee eye health and overall wellness.
Almost 6 in 10 employees report experiencing more eye fatigue symptoms due to increased screen time, with top symptoms including headaches (51%) and dry eye (48%), which has increased 10 percentage points since last year’s survey. Additionally, 29% of employees cite light sensitivity as another symptom of their eye fatigue due to increased screen time.
As employees continue to work remotely, the increase in screen time and, subsequently, a rise in digital eyestrain have prompted employees to become more concerned about their eye health than they were pre-pandemic. According to the survey:
- Almost half are more concerned about digital eyestrain overall.
- Almost half are more concerned about light sensitivity.
- One in three is more concerned about eye damage from blue light.
With increased demands on their eyes, employees are looking toward eyewear to help alleviate their digital eyestrain symptoms, with one-third of employees saying they will seek information on blue light eyeglasses, update their prescription, or buy new glasses.
Premium Vision Benefits Plan Offerings Can Help to Alleviate Digital Eyestrain
Low in cost, vision benefits offer a high return on investment for employers and can help to save on medical expenses, boost employee productivity, and even help attract and retain top talent. Vision benefits are good for an employer’s bottom line. In fact, research has shown that even slightly miscorrected vision—so slight that an employee doesn’t even notice—can decrease productivity by up to 20%, making routine eye exams for all employees important.
With 70% of people indicating that protecting their eyes and their eye health is more important to them now than pre-pandemic—and with more employees looking toward eyewear and blue light filtration options—ensuring that a workplace offers comprehensive vision benefits plans that cover premium eyewear options is more essential than ever for businesses.
Many vision plans and optical companies offer complementary resources about vision benefits and premium lens options that can help to alleviate digital eyestrain and other problems faced by today’s workers. Employers should be proactive in initiating conversations with their benefits brokers and plans to ensure they know which plans cover these options. By offering eyewear that both protects and enhances vision, employers can, in turn, see a boost in productivity and overall employee satisfaction.
Read the 2021 Transitions Optical Workplace Wellness Survey here.
Jonathan Ormsby is Senior Key Account Manager at Transitions Optical.