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Smart Small Businesses Encourage Eye Exams For Employees

By offering preventive care such as eye examinations, companies can reduce long-term costs by detecting such diseases as diabetes and hypertension.

Eye exams are often the first detectors of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, a study released by VSP® Vision Care indicates.

The study, conducted by Human Capital Management Services Group (HCMS), a national human-capital consulting firm, found that VSP eye doctors detected signs of certain chronic conditions before any other healthcare provider recorded the condition—65% of the time for high cholesterol, 20% of the time for diabetes, and 30% of the time for hypertension.

“With the national healthcare system focused on prevention and early detection, annual eye exams play a critical role in detecting signs of chronic diseases, even at the beginning stages, as eye doctors have the only unobstructed, noninvasive view of blood vessels,” says Susan Egbert, VSP Vision Care’s director of eye health management.  “Individuals who have a VSP vision plan are three times more likely to get an annual eye exam than a routine, preventive physical, making it a critical component of overall health and wellness,” she says.

When the study results were extrapolated to apply to VSP’s entire membership of 56 million, the following were the projected percentages and numbers of members who received early treatment for chronic diseases as a result of their eye exam:

  • 65% of the 2.2 million members with high cholesterol (1.5 million).
  • 20% of 1.5 million members with diabetes (296,800).
  • 30% of 2.2 million members with hypertension (667,800).

Early detection of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension also increased the likelihood employees would be proactive with their healthcare and more likely to see a medical doctor to receive follow-up care.  

To view this study, visit

About the study

Human Capital Management Services Group (HCMS), a national healthcare and workplace-productivity consulting firm, matched medical condition data for over 200,000 members covered by VSP Vision Care, spanning two years to medical and pharmacy data obtained from the clients’ medical and drug carriers.  HCMS compared chronic patients who were first identified by VSP Vision Care against those who entered the healthcare system via traditional means.  The study included six large commercial clients with a total of 212,000 members. 

With a research reference database of more than 2.2 million employees and their families who are actively enrolled in a health plan, HCMS maintains comprehensive data on medical and prescription costs, absenteeism, disability, workers’ compensation, and productivity costs. The study identified more than 9,000 VSP members who were first identified with early signs of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol by a VSP doctor.

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