It’s Our Business to Care About Your Vision.

Those who don’t think they need vision insurance should keep in mind one number: 196.

That’s the average national cost of a pair of eyeglasses.1 But that’s not the cost of getting glasses. It doesn’t include the expense of the eye exam or factor in features such as anti-reflective or glare-free lenses.

Here are a few more numbers to remember: Almost 21 million adult Americans experience vision loss2, and 75 percent require vision correction, according to the Vision Council. Yet roughly 3.4 million Americans are uninsured and receive no vision benefits.3 Multiply that by a pair of glasses, and you’ve got nearly $7 million in uninsured frames annually.

It’s easy to see why vision care is important when staring down these numbers, but a lot of us still tend to be shortsighted when it comes to purchasing vision insurance. Instead we focus on major medical coverage, possibly dental, and eye care gets missed.

It’s understandable since some of the most common eye conditions do not become evident until middle age. However, many vision issues are unexpected and can go undetected for far too long.

Adding up to good hindsight

We see time and again that unless someone is already wearing glasses or contacts, vision insurance is not viewed as a must-have service. “Why do I need an eye exam? I see fine!”

But an eye exam does more than to alert you to whether you need glasses. It’s essential for detecting eye health problems such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, which the patient won’t likely notice in the early stages. Also, eye exams can detect conditions that affect one’s body beyond the eyes, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.4

Seeing the value

Vision benefits deliver financial value, and it extends beyond the costs of eye exams and glasses.

Some programs provide added perks. GVS, for example, offers its members a 40% percent off additional prescription glasses once their funded benefit has been utilized. Even, a hearing aid savings plan for members and extended family is available through EPIC Hearing.

And let’s not overlook the value of peace of mind—and convenience—that a quality eye insurance plan can offer. Depending on the carrier, the patient and entire family can have access to dozens of nearby doctors and retail locations, many of which are open on the weekends and evenings. Some programs offer apps that list provider locations, benefit details, tips and more.

Today’s eye exam can stave off tomorrow’s health issues, which saves money and improves quality of life. If you’re still unsure about vision insurance, then just ask yourself: How important are my eyes to me?

1. “Eyeglasses Cost,” CostHelper Health, http://health.costhelper.com/eyeglasses.html
2. Facts and Figures on Adults with Vision Loss,” American Foundation for the Blind, May 2014, http://www.afb.org/info/blindness-statistics/adults/facts-and-figures/235
3. Ibid.
4. “Why Are Eye Exams Important?” by Gary Heiting, All About Vision http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/importance.htm

Selecting Proper Eyewear

More Than an Accessory

Even sunglasses, traditionally seen as a fashion statement, contribute to your eye health and wellness. Both ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays can damage the structure of the eye, but only 9% of participants in a recent survey by Transitions Optical, Inc. recognized the potential harm of sunlight to the eyes. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays can help preserve your eyesight. Here you can learn more about why sunwear is so important.

Why It Is Important to Protect Your Eyes

Celebrities may sport sunglasses for the fashion, but everyone can benefit from protecting their eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays harm both the internal and external structures of the eye and carry short- and long-term effects.

Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize the harm the sun can have on vision. A recent survey by Transitions Optical, Inc., showed that only 9% of respondents knew that sun exposure can cause vision damage.

But the effects are very apparent. Short-term exposure to the sun can burn the surface of the eye, just like a sunburn on the skin. Such burns can even come from reflections off snow or pavement. Over time, UV rays are known to contribute to cataracts, pterygium (an abnormal growth in the corner of the eye that can block vision),age-related macular degenerationand skin cancer around the eyelids.

Proper sunglasses can help prevent these conditions. When looking for eye protection, make sure the lenses block 99 – 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound sunglass frames can offer further protection.

Prescription lenses can be treated with a UV coating, and are also available in photochromic styles that darken when exposed to sunlight. You can also have a pair of sunglasses made with your prescription.

Most EyeMed providers offer a selection of prescription and non-prescription sunwear options. Your EyeMed plan may also allow you save money on additional purchases, including sunglasses.

Sources: United States Environmental Protection Agency and American Academy of Ophthalmology

Skin Cancer Can Affect Eyes

When you think of skin cancer, you probably don’t think of your eyes. Yet increased sun exposure can cause cancerous growths both in and around the eyes. Though rare, these melanomas can cause vision loss if not treated.

Intraocular melanoma, in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the eye, is the most common form of eye cancer in adults. Like other sun-related cancers, lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood of developing intraocular melanoma. The most obvious method of prevention is wearing sunglasses. The American Cancer Society recommends sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of ultraviolet A rays.

Intraocular melanoma is often found during a comprehensive eye exam. Symptoms include a dark spot on the iris (colored part of the eye), blurred vision, a change in pupil shape or a change in vision. Intraocular melanoma is highly treatable if caught early, but can cause glaucoma and even blindness if untreated.

When putting on your sunscreen before a day outside, don’t forget to protect your eyes, too!

Sources: National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society

Approximately 38 million Americans wear contact lenses all or part of the time.* Contact lenses offer many benefits for all types of refractive errors. Here, you’ll learn more about the watch-outs of wearing contact lenses, as well as the options available to meet specialized vision care needs.

Contact lenses offer several advantages for wearers, including adaptability to active lifestyles and vision correction that extends to peripheral vision. Approximately 1 in 5 vision correction users turn to contact lenses. But contact lenses require dexterity and a commitment to caring for them properly.

Are you a good candidate for contact lenses?

Try and Try Again

If you’re new to contact lenses, remember to be patient while you and the doctor find the right fit, brand and type for you. It may take several weeks to adjust to contact lenses. A bit of trial and error might be required to get the fit right, especially if you are wearing bifocal or toric contact lenses. If you stick with it, you’ll most likely be successful in making the switch to contact lenses, especially with new technologies that address almost any vision correction need.

Practice Makes Perfect

Many first-time contact lens wearers struggle with inserting and removing their lenses, and some even give up on contacts simply because they can’t get them in or out. Be prepared to practice the technique. Use the hints available from the manufacturers to ensure the lens is not inside out. If you keep at it, you will soon find the right routine for putting in and taking out your contact lenses.

Think Ahead

If you’re planning on getting LASIK surgery in the future, you may not want to use rigid gas permeable lenses, as they can alter the shape of the cornea. A good surgeon will not perform the procedure until the corneas have corrected themselves, a process that can take several months of non-contact lens use.

Follow the Rules

The most important factor to consider is your commitment to following the guidelines of the manufacturer and your eye doctor. Remember, contact lenses must be prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional and are monitored by the FDA like any other prescription. There can also be serious side effects if you do not abide by wearing times, replacement schedules or cleaning instructions, ranging from infections to blindness. The good news is, even if you don’t want to bother with cleaning your lenses, there are daily wear lenses on the market that are thrown away every day. As long as you start with a fresh pair daily, you’ll never have to worry about cleaning them.

Only your eye care professional can help you find the right contact lens for you. Once you’ve decided to make the commitment, he or she will evaluate your specific needs and recommend a brand and type.

Choosing the Right Contact Lenses for Your Eye Care Needs

Technological advancements have opened up a new world of vision correction for many people who were told they couldn’t wear contact lenses. Nowadays, lens manufacturers use a variety of materials to accommodate all kinds of vision correction and eyes.

Bifocals

Yes, there are contact lenses that correct presbyobia, difficulty seeing both up-close and far away. A variety of techniques allows the lens to correct both near and far vision. You may need to experiment with the different kinds before finding a bifocal contact lens that will work for you.

Astigmatism

If you think you couldn’t wear contact lenses because of your astigmatism, you may be surprised at the contact lens options available to those with astigmatism. In the past, toric lenses were available only as Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses. Now, toric lenses are also available as soft contact lenses and can even come in disposable, frequent replacement and colored varieties.

Extended Wear

New technology allows people to wear contact lenses longer than ever. Some contact lens products can be safely used for 30 days straight, including sleep time! These are ideal for those who like the freedom of contact lenses without the hassle of the care.

Eye care professionals stay abreast of changes and updates in contact lenses and will work with you to determine the best option for your vision correction and lifestyle needs.

* Source: National Eye Institute, Glasses Crafter

Seeing the World Better

Eyeglass lenses are, of course, what makes your corrective eyewear work. By bending light, lenses correct refractive errors, enabling you to see better. Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, presbyopic or astigmatic, it will be important to select the lenses and treatments that will optimize your corrective eyewear. Here you’ll learn more about lens types and how to determine what kind is right for you.

Today’s lenses and treatments allow eyeglass wearers to customize their glasses. You’ll want to work with your doctor and optician/frame stylist to order lenses that work best for your prescription and your lifestyle.

Find Your Lens Profile

Which of the following best describes you? You may find more than one profile applies, and that’s okay. Lens types and options can often be combined to create an ideal lens.

Active and Outdoorsy

I need glasses that resist wear and tear.

I play sports or participate in other physical activities.
I’m interested in making my lenses thinner.
I want to protect my eyes from harmful sun rays.

Recommended: Polycarbonate lenses are made from a thinner, lighter weight material than traditional lenses. They are more resistant to scratching and impact (though no lens is completely unbreakable or shatterproof). Children, athletes and those needing safety glasses frequently use this material.

Sun Protection without an Additional Pair

I will wear this pair of glasses both indoors and outdoors.
I want sun protection but don’t want a separate pair of prescription sunglasses.

Recommended: Photochromic lenses darken when they are exposed to sunlight and lighten when the wearer returns indoors. Photochromic lenses are useful for people who want the protection and comfort of sunglasses without having to switch eyewear. If you do a lot of driving during the day, though, you might want to consider a separate pair of sunglasses, as traditional photochromic lenses do not respond to light through windshields.

Presbyotic – Need Far and Near Vision Correction

I have multifocals (lenses for near, far and/or intermediate distances).
I want the “lines” of my multifocals to be less noticeable.
I want my corrected vision to be as close to natural vision as possible.

Recommended: Progressive lenses are often referred to as “no-line” bifocals or trifocals. They allow the wearer to have the benefits of multifocal lenses with a blended lens. The result is not only more attractive, but provides a more natural vision correction. Progressive lenses come in a variety of brands categorized into “Premium” and “Standard.” If you’re new to progressives, you may need some time to adjust to them. Work with your dispensary to determine the best brand for your needs.

Night Driver

I frequently drive at night while wearing my glasses.
I have a hard time with reflections, glare and halos around light.
I might have high index lenses.

Recommended: Anti-reflective coating is a treatment that eliminates reflection and glare. It is especially helpful in reducing halos and light brightness when driving at night. It is also ideal for high index lenses, which inherently let more light enter the eye.

Sun-Sensitive

I want to protect my eyes from the sun without a tint.
I am at risk for cataracts or retinal problems.

Other lens treatments may also be useful for you:

  • Tints reduce visible light or create a fashion accent.
  • Polarized lenses offer the greatest glare reduction.
  • Scratch-resistant coatings help lengthen the life of the lenses and are often built into standard lenses offered by dispensaries.
  • Most dispensaries offer lens treatment packages that combine the most popular and beneficial lens treatments with additional elements like dirt/dust repellent and easier cleaning.

New Trends in Frames Offer More Options Than Ever

Current trends in ophthalmic frames make it easier than ever for you to select a frame that reflects your personal style. This year’s optical trends can be summed up as a modern take on classic styles. When shopping for eyeglasses, you’ll likely see:

Hybrids

This new style of frames refers to a combining of colors, materials, textures and details in sometimes unexpected ways. Examples include metal frames with plastic temples and traditional styling in conjunction with bold prints and embellishments.

Retro Looks

The decade of choice for retro styles is the 1980s. From boldly colored plastic frames to lavish gold with crystal-studded logos, the Decade of Decadence is popular right now. You’ll also see the return of Ray-Ban Wayfarers™ and chain link accents.

Patterns

Frame designers are finding new ways to infuse fun and fashion into eyeglasses with pinstripes, herringbone, colorful abstract patterns and even woodgrain treatments. The traditional tortoise print is modernized with bolder patterns and striking contrasts. You’ll also find “peek a boo” patterns that are visible from the inside of the frame.

Frame Sizes and Shapes

Oversize, rounded frames are once again popular, including Jackie Onassis-style frames with square instead of rounded shapes. Aviator glasses have made a comeback with sleeker styles and more colors to choose from than in the past.

Eyeglass frames are more than just functional. They allow the wearer to express their individuality, just like any other accessory. Like anything you wear, you should consider your appearance, your lifestyle and your fashion when selecting eyewear. Read on to learn more about choosing frames that fit you.

Find Your Eye wear Shopping Profile

Frames today come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Whether you’re looking for eyewear that will go where you go or you view glasses as a vital part of your wardrobe, EyeMed’s provider dispensaries offer hundreds of quality frames to choose from. Office staff are trained to assist you and your family in selecting eyeglass frames that suit your lifestyle.

Which of the below most reflects your preferences?

Fashion-Forward

I view eyewear as an accessory.

I want to choose from the widest selection of frames possible.

I value designer brands and the quality and style they represent.

Health-Focused

I am most concerned with the health of my eyes.

I want a broad range of styles to choose from but am not concerned about designer names.

I want my glasses to be comfortable and functional, with fashion of lesser importance.

Conservative

I am conservative in style and/or nature.

I value comfort over fashion.

I desire frames in traditional color palettes and materials.

I wear my glasses as corrective eyewear, not necessarily as a fashion statement.

I expect quality and value.

Modern

I am looking for fashion, value and comfort.

I prefer young, modern styles.

I want to get my eyewear where I shop for clothing and other accessories.

I like designer looks even though I don’t necessarily have a designer budget.

Classic

I like my frames to correspond with my fashion choices.

I prefer classic styles and designers.

I desire the convenience of buying my frames where I shop for clothing and accessories.

I am looking for frames that reflect and inspire my lifestyle.

Personal

I prefer a small, personal optical office environment.

I want a mix of styles that reflect both national and regional tastes.

I typically have my eyes examined by a private practice optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

All of EyeMed’s dispensing providers offer hundreds of frame choices, and your EyeMed benefit or discount can be applied toward any frame available in the dispensary (with the exception of a few brands that do not allow discounting).

FAQ’s

View our frequently asked questions and answers.