Absenteeism is a major drag on U.S. workforce productivity. According to the most recent available statistics, employees take 3.6 billion days off work per year due to health-related illness--and employees with chronic diseases are far more likely to be absent from work than their healthy co-workers.

Consider diabetes, which affects 1 in 10 Americans--and 1 in 4 of those age 65 and older. It’s the No. 1 cause of blindness in the U.S., and also causes neuropathy, kidney disease, glaucoma and cataracts. And it can really hurt your business, with the cost of diabetes-related absenteeism, reduced productivity and disability totaling $327 billion annually.

Fortunately, eye exams are a simple way to detect signs of diabetes early--as well as hypertension, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease and certain types of cancers. By enabling the early detection and treatment of a range of serious health issues, vision care benefits can help improve overall employee health while boosting productivity and improving your bottom line.

“When it comes to looking for early indicators of different diseases, people tend to think of things like taking a blood test, or having to go through various rounds of screenings,” says Michael Guyette, President and CEO of VSP Global®, which has the largest network of eye doctors in the U.S. and provides comprehensive vision care coverage for members with diabetes. “What is often overlooked is that eye exams provide a noninvasive way to see blood vessels and nerves, automatically providing an opportunity for early detection of a variety of chronic diseases.”

Boost business performance with vision care benefits

Providing vision care benefits can be a decisive step toward improved employee health and productivity. Not only does vision care help reduce absenteeism by providing another channel to detect certain chronic diseases early, it also helps employees avoid headaches that can make them less productive (and less happy) on the job. Employee turnover is a major expense for businesses, so doing what it takes to attract top talent and then keep those employees at work can save you a great deal of money and give your company a significant competitive advantage.

“Leading employers know the value of employee wellness--of making it easier for employees to be healthy,” says Guyette. “Vision care benefits do more than help people see better. They also drive early detection of diseases like diabetes and are critical for having a productive, engaged and healthy workforce.” 

A good vision care plan provides access to great eye doctors, quality eyewear and low out-of-pocket costs. To see how innovative vision care can help your company, visit VSP today.