Vision disorders result in a considerable decrease in productivity and cost businesses an estimated $8 billion annually, according to a new report from the Vision Council of America (VCA). The Vision in Business report shows the staggering financial impact of vision problems on the economy and the workplace.

“Direct medical costs associated with vision disorders exceed similar medical expenditures for breast cancer, lung cancer and HIV, yet few Americans get regular eye exams or have vision coverage in their health plans,” said Ed Greene, CEO of VCA.

The Vision in Business report, released last week, shows that job-related eye injuries, computer eye strain and other vision problems are costly for employers and employees in a wide range of industries and occupations. Employees in professions ranging from engineers, construction workers, stockbrokers, software developers, to accountants and administrative assistants are among those most at risk for developing vision problems that affect their work performance.

Specific findings from the report include:

• Vision problems are the second most prevalent health problem in the country, affecting more than 120 million people.

• An estimated 11 million Americans have uncorrected vision problems, ranging from refractive errors (near- or far-sightedness) to sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.

• There are nearly 800,000 work-related eye injuries each year, 90 percent of which are preventable.

• Nearly 90 percent of those who use a computer at least three hours a day suffer vision problems associated with computer-related eye strain.

• Employers gain as much as $7 for every $1 spent on vision coverage.

VCA’s report also highlights recent research that finds the annual financial burden of major adult vision disorders exceeds $50 billion. Specifically, there is a $35.4 billion drain on the U.S. economy with an additional $15.9 billion borne by individuals with vision problems and their caregivers.

The VCA suggests that employers offer vision coverage as part of a healthcare package and encourage regular eye exams for employees. The council also advises that when working on a computer, employees take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away.

For a copy of the full report and additional information on protecting vision, visit www.checkyearly.com.