Keep an Eye on Your Eyes

Close up of one woman examining the eye of another woman in an office setting.

Every day, people spend considerable time looking at screens – whether it’s a cellphone, tablet or computer. Since your eyes work overtime on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to have a routine vision exam each year. 

An annual eye exam is included in U-M’s Vision Plan benefit. Vision insurance is separate from U-M’s Health Plans, and costs just $7.71 (you only), $12.04 (you and one dependent) or $20.90 (you and two or more dependents) per month. You can enroll during U-M’s general Open Enrollment period, which is Oct. 19-30 this year.

An Eyesore – and More

Nearly 90 percent of people staring at those aforementioned screens shows signs of Computer Vision Syndrome, better known as digital eye strain. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry and/or watery eyes
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain

Improving your symptoms can be as simple as following the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, spend another 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away from it.

Your Annual Checkup

During a routine vision exam, a specialist will assess the wear-and-tear on your eyes through a series of simple tests. Although dilation (using special eye drops to widen your pupils) is recommended to best screen for certain conditions, check with your specialist to see whether it’s needed every year.

A routine checkup also can shed light on more serious conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disease and stroke.

But Don’t Wait If…

Specialists recommend that you contact your provider If you experience the following new or aggravated symptoms:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Infection or irritation. Be on the lookout for redness, discharge, light sensitivity or a feeling that you have something in your eye.
  • Floaters or flashes. This is a dangerous symptom and could indicate a detached retina. Urgency is needed, as the longer you wait to have a detached retina treated, the increased chance of vision loss.
  • Squinting, especially if you find yourself doing it more frequently.

A Plan for Your Peepers

U-M’s Vision Plan also covers a pair of contact lenses or eyeglasses, and frames, each calendar year. The benefit is most cost-efficient when you use Davis Vision, U-M’s participating provider. When you order your eyewear through a Davis provider, the following lens features are covered:

  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Blended, invisible bifocals
  • Ultraviolet (UV) coating (good protection if you’re on your screen frequently)

U-M's Kellogg Eye Center and the University Health Service Eye Care Clinic and Optical Shop are Davis Vision in-network providers.

Since many varieties of eyewear and features are available, review your benefit details before you see your eye specialist.

Remember Open Enrollment in October

Open Enrollment for U-M Benefits is Oct. 19-30. During this time, you can enroll in or change your health, vision, dental, retirement, legal, life insurance and disability benefits, and enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Selections will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Related News

Close up of three smiling African American men

Prioritize Yourself During Men’s Health Month

Scheduling a routine checkup is your first step.