Pathway to prevention and cost-reduction: a Diabetic Eye Care benefit

image of this article's author, Natasha D'sa
Natasha D'sa
Vice President

The prevalence and impact of diabetes on your workforce might surprise you.

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control in 2017reported more than 30 million Americans (1) have diabetes and 84 million have pre-diabetes. (2) And according to Prevent Blindness America, diabetic disease is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss.(3)

What’s more frightening is that the American Optometric Association has found that between 12,000 and 24,000 people lose their vision every year because of diabetes complications that often could have been prevented through early detection and timely treatment. (4)

To bring those numbers closer to home, think of it this way:

• 1 of every 10 Americans has diabetes, (5) which means that as many as 5 million of EyeMed's 50 million members could be diabetic.

• Did you know early detection and treatment can reduce that risk of blindness by 95%? (6)

How many of these at-risk members for diabetes are your employees? How many have an increased risk of vision-related complications such as glaucoma, cataracts and blindness?

A solution for a costly challenge for patients and their employers

We know managing diabetes is challenging for patients—and for their employers. As more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, it puts added pressure on businesses to provide for their employees’ needs and guard against both illness and absence. Consider these costs:

• In 2018, the American Diabetes Association estimated the total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. had risen to $327 billion. (7)

• Absenteeism costs are estimated at $20 billion a year. (8)

• Average medical spending for those with diabetes is $13,700 per year, which is approximately 2.3x higher than the rest of the population. (9)

Fortunately for employers who offer a well-utilized vision plan, eye exams are one of the easiest and non-invasive ways to detect early signs of diabetes and help monitor those diagnosed with the disease.

That’s why EyeMed offers a Diabetic Eye Care Benefit, an enhancement which covers additional follow-up services for eligible members who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Our Diabetic Eye Care Benefit, available to qualifying groups, makes it convenient and affordable for members with diabetes to get the follow-up vision care they need. The additional diagnostic visits allow for early detection of diabetic ocular changes and referral for treatment, intended to help prevent vision loss. They include tests such as gonioscopy, extended ophthalmology, fundus photography and scanning laser, at the doctor’s discretion. (Comparable competitor benefits typically don’t provide the same benefits as often as EyeMed’s offering.)

Our goal with this benefit is to remove barriers to care and keep members educated on the importance of vision care.

Combined with proper medical care, vigilant vision care can prevent minor issues from becoming major ones, helping to keep your employees healthy, happy and productive.

To learn more about our Diabetic Eye Care Benefit enhancement, contact your EyeMed rep or visit, fill out your contact information and we'll be in touch.


1: National Diabetes Statistics Report. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.
2: Number of Americans with Diabetes Projected to Double or Triple by 2050. Centers for Disease Control and Preventation, 2010.
3:Prevent Blindness, Diabetes and Your Eyes,; accessed 5.2.18
4: Pennsylvania Optometric Association, Individuals with Diabetes at Increased Risk for Eye Diseases:; accessed 5.2.18
5: National Diabetes Statistics Report. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.
6: National Eye Institute, Facts About Diabetic Disease:; accessed online 5.2.18

7: American Diabetes Association, Statisticas About Diabetes:; accessed 5.2.18

8: Witters and Liu, “Diabetes Costs U.S. Economy Estimated $266B Annually.” Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, 2017.
9: American Diabetes Association, 2017.