Hidden or symptomless conditions such as high blood pressure a concern for more than 1 in 3
…a time to consider benefits with a wider wellbeing impact
Hidden or symptomless conditions, like high blood pressure, are one of the main health and wellbeing concerns employers have about their staff, according to research* from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare.
The survey of 500 HR decision makers found 37% of employers were concerned about symptomless conditions. This was second only to concerns about mental health (49%), followed closely by serious illnesses like cancer (33%). Perhaps surprisingly, temporary issues like headaches, migraines and dry eyes, were also stated as one of the main health and wellbeing concerns by 30% of employers.
The full figures:
Which health conditions concern you regarding your company’s employees?
- Mental health 49%
- Hidden/symptomless like high blood pressure 37%
- Serious illness, such as cancer 33%
- Temporary issues like headaches, migraine, dry eyes 30%
- Eye health conditions 29%
- Lifestyle related like diabetes 28%
- Cardiovascular 27%
Symptomless illnesses are a big worry because they are often only revealed when the condition becomes more serious. Many employers may look at providing health screening to detect concerns. However, it’s important that eye tests are also considered in this mix, as they can play an important role in detection too. Opticians can identify symptoms of otherwise hidden conditions, like high blood pressure, as changes in the small blood vessels in the eyes reflect changes elsewhere in the body that cannot be viewed so easily. Early diagnosis and treatment are often the key to stopping conditions like high blood pressure from becoming a more serious problem.
While the concern over mental wellbeing cannot be addressed directly through eye care, helping to detect and manage other illnesses can help to take some of the stress and worry away from employees.
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘Symptomless conditions, by their nature, can go unnoticed; and while temporary conditions like headaches and migraines may not be life-threatening, they can be debilitating and affect productivity. As an optician may be a key person who is able to help, eye care can play an important role in supporting health and wellbeing in the workplace.’
Wider health and wellbeing benefits 43% of the HR professionals surveyed said that the reason their employees take up workplace eye care benefits is to check for wider health conditions. Although this is positive, the message about eye care detecting wider health issues would benefit from better communication.
The majority of employers still think their employees take up eye care benefits to check their eye health and vision. Half of employees take up eye care to meet with health and safety regulations. While these are all good and valid reasons, eye care take-up may be higher still if employees were fully aware of the impact for wider health.
Why do your company’s employees take up eye care as a workplace benefit?
- To check eye health 65%
- To check vision 52%
- To meet with Health & Safety regulations 50%
- To check for wider health conditions 43%
Jim Lythgow continued: ‘The new year is a good opportunity to assess existing benefits and to introduce new policies. We recommend that all employers reflect on the much wider benefits of offering eye care and consider how it could offer advantages to employees and the company alike.’ To find out more about the benefits of eye care, visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate
*Survey undertaken on behalf of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare by Opinium among 500 HR decision makers across the UK between 12 and 18 September 2019.