That guy should get his eyes checked (every year!)

image of this article's author, Chad Prittie
Chad Prittie
Regional Vice President

Eye exams can make a real difference on the field and off for everyone

Each year with Super Bowl Sunday on the horizon, I look forward to enjoying the big game--the spectacle, traditions and great snack food, no matter which teams are playing. And, because my job involves talking with brokers and clients about vision benefits and eye care, I love the event because it’s a high profile reminder of the importance of clear vision and comprehensive eye exams.

Good vision certainly has been a hot topic leading up to this year’s championship game. The controversial, outcome-changing “no-call” of pass interference in the playoff game loss for the New Orleans Saints to the Los Angeles Rams came after the referee said HE DIDN’T SEE IT. Ouch.

Not surprisingly, football fans across the nation reacted with social media posts saying the referee should get his eyes checked. Hundreds of media outlets reported that a Louisiana-based optometrist (and many others) gladly offered free eye exams to all the league’s officials to prevent a recurrence of what happened in that high-stakes game. “We would hate for someone else to feel our pain,” said one of the optometry practices. (1) An eye doctor in Louisiana even offered free eye exams for NFL referees!

While I don’t know anything about that referee’s vision or eye care history, the reminder is a good one.

Vision benefits can help make sure nobody misses any of the action

All kidding aside, what a great opportunity this is to educate or remind brokers and HR benefit administrators just how important vision benefits are for employees. The access and savings that the relatively low-cost benefits offer can translate to helping employees and their families make the most of every day through clear vision.

Here are some interesting findings by the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP) from a 2016 study looking at thousands of vision benefit claims. The data shows that vision benefits drive healthy habits like getting annual eye exams, including: (3)

• People without vision benefits wait 2.5 years between eye exams.

• People with vision benefits are more than 30% more likely to have an annual eye exam than those without a vision benefit.

• Those with benefits also are 2 times as likely to be wearing new eyewear with an up-to-date prescription.

Also, when you consider 3 out of 4 people in the U.S. have vision correction (71% wear glasses and 22% wear contacts), it’s easy to see how offering comprehensive vision benefits that include eye exams can make a difference for your workforce. (2)

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the following guidelines for getting a comprehensive eye exam: (3)

Kids – the AOA recommends:

Adults – the AOA recommends:

The AOA also says both children and adults with risk factors may need more frequent eye exams. See this article describing vision risk factors for both age groups.

Remember – put those vision benefits to use

To see the big plays in life--and the important little moments--you need clear vision. And vision benefits make a difference.

Maybe you’ve already started the year with a visit to the eye doctor. If not, I hope you’ll take this as a reminder to make an appointment soon and prioritize vision benefits for your employees. After all, not only are referees more likely to be at their best when they see more accurately, so are the rest of us.

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1: Bar Stool Sports: (site accessed 1.30.2019).
2: The Vision Impact Institute: (site accessed 1.30.19)
3: All About Vision “Eye Exam Cost And When To Have An Eye Exam” By Gary Heiting, OD, and Jennifer Palombi, OD; (site accessed 1.30.2019).
4: “Americans With Vision Benefits Have Healthier Vision Habits”; NAVCP; November 2016.