Is Your Team Struggling with Vision?… No, Actual Vision?
February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month. Living with poor eyesight is a common issue for many employees, but in most cases, glasses or contacts are enough to correct the problem. Today, the average American worker spends most of their time at a computer screen, which is contributing to more eye-related issues than ever. It is important to use resources like company health screening and healthcare consulting services to ensure the blurry vision and dryness that is plaguing your team is not due to something more harmful than tired eyes.
What is AMD?
AMD, formally referred to as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, is a serious disease of the eye which limits visibility and cannot be cured. It occurs when a portion of the eye, known as the macula (part of the retina), becomes damaged due to age. The condition is usually seen in individuals 60 or older, but it is a progressive disease which means symptoms can start subtly and worsen over time.
AMD has many risk factors including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and certain lifestyle choices like smoking. Most of the time, the disease is found during a routine eye exam. Catching the disease early is key, as there are some treatment methods which slow its progression. Individuals with AMD typically do not become completely blind, but their vision may substantially decrease.
Symptoms of AMD include:
- Blurred vision
- A blurry or dark spot in the middle of one’s eyesight
- Difficulty distinguishing colors, or a sense that colors are altered
What is Low Vision?
Low vision is a severe form of vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. Many times, the low vision itself can be attributed to a serious condition of the eye such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration. However, these primary diseases can develop slowly and with little warning, making health screening services vital to early detection.
Life can become very challenging for an individual suffering from low vision. In some cases, vision becomes so impaired that the individual is designated as “legally blind.” Simple tasks such as reading, writing, and recognizing others can become impossible. Like AMD, there is no cure for low vision, but some treatments are available to assist those with the disease.
Symptoms of low vision include:
- Loss of central or peripheral vision
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Night blindness
How Can You Protect Your Employees?
Diseases of the eye require early detection and frequent monitoring to reduce the long-term impact of symptoms. Encourage your employees to participate in simple eye tests at their local optometrist’s office or at community health fairs. Vision should always be evaluated at least once a year and any time there is a change in visibility. Organizing a company health screening event that tests vision, hearing, blood pressure, and basic blood tests is a proactive way to promote employee wellness.
Ensure the healthcare plans available to your employees offer vision insurance at a reasonable cost. Basic coverage plans should include annual eye exams, benefits for eyeglass or contact prescriptions, as well as coverage or discounts to use during a major medical emergency or eye surgery. Reach out to a healthcare consulting firm like Hanson Medical Systems, Inc to see if your plan offers enough to your employees.
Remember, the symptoms of eye fatigue, like blurred vision and dryness, can mimic more sinister conditions. Diseases of the eye like AMD and low vision can start quietly and worsen quickly. Do not brush your employees’ vision complaints aside with explanations like eyestrain, or looking at their computer too much. Take advantage of healthcare consulting services this February to prioritize the sight of your team.