Cataract Awareness Month: How eye exams can make a difference for employees

An eye doctor examining an older man's eye
image of this article's author, Joe Wende
Joe Wende
Senior Medical Director

In June, thoughts tend to turn to summer vacations, days by the pool and baseball games.

But we’re going to challenge you to think about something very different—cataracts.

Now, before you roll your eyes, consider: Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., though they can be treated with surgery. Unlike with macular degeneration and glaucoma, vision loss due to cataracts can be reversed.

That’s great news! What’s even better? The vision benefits you offer employees promote early detection of cataracts and other serious vision and health conditions that can either be prevented or treated before they become more serious.

And that’s a perfect reason to talk to employees about using their vision benefits during Cataract Awareness Month, observed in June by Prevent Blindness and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The facts about cataracts

Vision benefits are a low-cost critical part of preventive healthcare. Comprehensive eye exams that surface issues like cataracts enable your team members to identify and treat problems early, in turn yielding a better quality of life (and greater workplace productivity).  They reflect our vision at EyeMed—to help people see life to the fullest.

Let’s take a closer look at cataracts:

• A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. If not treated, cataracts can lead to blindness, and the longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to remove the cataracts and restore vision.2

• They’re common. Currently, more than 24 million Americans 40 and older have cataracts, according to the Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness. Globally, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, and cataracts also can cause double or blurred vision. 1

• Cataract surgery, with a 95% success rate, is one of the most common procedures in the U.S. 3

Awareness is a win-win for employees, employers

Early cataract symptoms can be treated with eyeglasses, brighter lighting or anti-glare sunglasses. Surgery, which involves replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial one, is required only if vision loss affects essential daily activities. 2

With a comprehensive eye exam, it’s easier to spot developing cataracts and other vision and health issues sooner. Naturally, earlier detection produces better medical and wellbeing outcomes. It can also reduce costs by thousands of dollars per member per year, 4 which means that when employees take advantage of their benefits and get a comprehensive eye exam, not only do they win, but so do employers.

So, encourage your employees to use their benefits and schedule their annual eye exams to check for conditions such as cataracts, as well as signs of other visual and health issues. And to learn more about the importance of vision benefits, download our free Value of Vision white paper or enter your contact information to request that an EyeMed rep get in touch with you.

Then, once you have your company’s vision benefits nailed down, you can keep your eyes on the prize and enjoy some summer fun and the bright, fluffy clouds filling the sky—not in the eyes.



1. Prevent Blindness Vision Problems in the U.S. report
2. National Institutes of Health Cataract Facts
3. Prevent Blindness, May 22, 2013
4. “Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions,” UnitedHealthcare, 2014.