If you wear glasses, you probably remember the day you were able to see things clearly. And hopefully you have continued to get your eyes checked routinely. About 11 million Americans need vision correction – but this isn’t the only reason you need to get your eyes examined.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), an estimated 61 million adults are at high risk for vision loss, while only half of them visited an eye doctor in the past year. Additionally, fewer than 22 percent of preschool children received a vision screening. Regular eye exams for both children and adults are important to help diagnose eye diseases early and preserve your vision. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t routinely seeing an eye doctor.
“Not wearing prescription glasses if you need them may cause eyestrain, headaches and discomfort,” said Dr. Linda Chous, chief eye care officer of UnitedHealthcare Vision. “Even if you don’t need glasses, routine comprehensive eye exams are important for whole-person health.”
A study found an eye exam was the first indicator in 34 percent of diabetes cases, 39 percent of instances of high blood pressure, and 62 percent of those diagnosed with high cholesterol.
Whether you need vision correction or want to start getting routine eye exams, there are ways to make it help make it more affordable. Frames cost an average of more than $230, plus $112 for single-vision lenses. To bring the cost down, you may consider:
- Employer-sponsored coverage: Enrolling in a vision plan may help make eyewear more affordable. Many employers are starting to offer richer vision benefits to employees, like an option to get an additional pair of prescription eyewear – such as sunglasses or reading glasses – for a normal or reduced copay. Also, ask your employer if they have coverage for workplace safety glasses, which would help cover the cost of safety or blue light blocking glasses.
- Children’s Eye Health: Children’s eyesight can change quickly, so vision plans like those from UnitedHealthcare now provide members up to age 13 a second covered eye exam annually and additional pair of glasses if their vision prescription changes 0.5 diopter or greater.
- Direct-to-consumer eyewear: A number of companies, such as Warby Parker, are helping to make eyewear more affordable. People can purchase glasses from Warby Parker starting at about $100. Those with UnitedHealthcare vision coverage may pay little or no out-of-pocket cost.
Even if you don’t wear glasses, enrolling in a vision plan will pay for at least a portion of basic preventive care, including eye exams. If you have coverage, contact your vision plan to find an eye care provider near you to get an exam scheduled.
Learn more about eye health.