Many Employees Misunderstand Online Vision Screenings, New Survey Shows

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PINELLAS PARK, Fla.—Many people have misunderstandings about online vision screenings, according to newly released research from Transitions Optical and the American Optometric Association (AOA). Half of respondents polled in the Transitions Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey think that online vision screenings that provide a prescription are a suitable replacement for in-office eye exams. Millennials were the most likely to agree (57 percent)—compared to half of Gen Z, Gen X and 36 percent of Boomers. The AOA points out that online vision screenings are “no substitute for an in-person, comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist.” Aside from correcting vision, comprehensive eye exams can detect a number of vision problems, eye diseases and overall health issues that online eye exams cannot—including glaucoma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Comprehensive eye exams can also help to improve employee productivity by diagnosing—and prescribing the correct eyewear for—vision problems that lead to trouble seeing in the workplace, according to the AOA. The study found that nearly nine in 10 employees say they experience light sensitivity—a common vision problem for employees who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen or working outside in the bright sun—in the workplace. Additionally, 88 percent say it negatively affects their work performance, according to the 2019 annual Transitions Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey.

The misunderstanding of the difference between an in-person eye exam with an optometrist and an online vision screening emphasizes the importance of education, Transitions and AOA noted. When it comes to receiving information about eye health, three-quarters of those surveyed said that their eye doctor is their source for information.

However, the second-largest source for employees to receive information is their vision plan provider. One-third of employees indicated that is where they get eye health information, making it important for vision plans to provide the most accurate information about online vision screenings to both employers and employees, Transitions and AOA said.