Eye care is an important part of your overall wellness. Comprehensive eye care includes exams, vision correction procedures, corrective eye wear and more. Thanks to vision insurance and employer-sponsored benefit accounts, receiving eye care has become more affordable and accessible for many people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 67 percent of Americans with private health insurance and 55 percent of Americans with public health insurance use eye care services.
Why You Should Get Your Eyes Checked
Routine eye exams are important. Not only can the doctor assess your vision health and can prescribe vision correction methods, but he or she can also detect chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
For children, eye exams can help ensure normal vision development. In addition, untreated vision issues can lead to problems with school and classwork and impair the learning process.
Here are a handful of noteworthy statistics about vision from the CDC:
- Approximately 14 million Americans aged 12 years and older have self-reported visual impairment, defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse
- Among Americans aged 40 years and older, 20.5 million people have cataracts (about 16%) and 2.2 million people have glaucoma (about 2% )
- Only half of the estimated 61 million adults in the United States classified as being at high risk for serious vision loss visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months
- 1,600,000 Americans aged 50 years and older have age related macular degeneration
Paying for Eye Care
With insurance or a CDH account, paying for eye care is becoming more affordable. Many employers offer vision insurance to their employees to help offset the cost of eye care. In addition, employees who have an FSA, Limited Purpose FSA* (LPFSA), HRA, or HSA, can use these employer-sponsored benefit accounts to cover out-of-pocket costs.
Out-of-pocket costs include:
- Eye examinations
- Eye glasses
- Eye surgery
- Vision correction surgery
*An LPFSA is available for people who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with an HSA; the LPFSA covers qualified dental and vision care expenses only.
When to Have an Eye Exam
Determining when or how often to get an eye exam depends on several factors such as age, overall health, and risk of developing eye problems. People who wear glasses or contact lenses, have a family history of eye disease or have a chronic disease that increases the risk of eye disease, should get checked more often.
The following guidelines are courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:
Children 5 years and younger – For children under age 3, the pediatrician will look for common eye problems such as lazy eye, crossed eye, or turned-out eyes. Between ages 3-5, if the child will cooperate, then the doctor may choose to perform a more comprehensive eye exam.
School-aged children – The child’s eyes should be checked before he or she enters first grade. If the child shows no symptoms of vision problems and has no family history of vision issues, get an exam every year to two years. Otherwise, follow the advice of your eye doctor.
Adults – For healthy adults who have no symptoms of vision problems, follow the recommended schedule:
|Age Range||Eye Exam Regularity|
|Between 20s and 30s||Every 5 – 10 years|
|40 to 54||Every 2 – 4 years|
|55 to 64||Every 1 – 3 years|
|65 and older||Every 1 – 2 years|