How important is vision insurance?

Unfortunately, most people don’t view it as critical. It is purchased separately from general health insurance policies and often added to other types of insurance, most often dental insurance. Additionally, people don’t always know how to take care of their vision. As we age, our vision, like the rest of the body, deteriorates.

However, to show how critical the vision is, compare the following facts.

  • Even with medical advancements, restoring full vision is almost impossible; so once lost, very little can be done to restore vision to its former strength. Most parts of the body, including the teeth, are not.
  • Insuring vision is relatively inexpensive compared to dental or medical insurance
  • Policies are relatively easy to understand, unlike health insurance policies with their myriad exclusions.

Before purchasing insurance, let’s talk about common sight pains and what you as a senior can do to prevent vision problems.

EYE STRUCTURE

Let me break down your eye structure. The main functions of the eye are to receive light, to focus on objects, and to transmit data to the brain. Here are the key elements of your eye.

  • Pupil, transmits light to the back of the eye
  • The lens, retina, and macula work together to not only transmit light and contours, but also interpret them and communicate data to the brain
  • The vitreous gel, which contains over 90% water, keeps the eye shape and hydrates
  • The cornea helps prevent the eye from getting infected and also regulates light entering the eye
  • The iris acts as a photometer or a filter

COMMON EYE CONDITIONS

Common vision and visual impairment conditions are:

1. Cataract

2. Diabetes-related deaths

3. Macular degeneration

4. Glaucoma

5. Dry eye

6. Visual impairment

PREVENTIVE ADVICE

While age-related degradation of the eye is common and unfortunately cannot be ruled out, its progress can be slowed down by discipline and some smart practices. They are;

1. Tests: Be sure to see your eye doctor at least once a year (usually every six months after age 60 or if you have genetic eye problems). Make sure you have a “complete dilated eye exam”

2. Hereditary history: some eye problems are genetic; know your family’s exposure to eye disease.

3. Diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, is good for the health of your eyes.

4. Rest: like the rest of our body, your eyes need rest. Constant focus, especially in backlit cameras, can strain the eye muscles.

5. Overexposure: Wear sunglasses – not only to look cool, but avoid the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

VISION INSURANCE:

Most vision insurance policies cover basic preventative routines such as eye exams, etc. Most have an annual maximum. But aside from money, your vision insurance provider should offer the following broad categories of protection and support.

1. Products, services: these include eye exams, surgery, age-related procedures and reductions on frames and lenses

2. Acceptance. Make sure your provider’s policy is accepted by a large network of ophthalmologists and eye surgeons near you or your job. Especially if you are retired you may not be very mobile. Having to drive or be driven far to see your ophthalmologist is not acceptable. It’s worth paying a little extra for a widely accepted provider.

3. Resources. Your supplier should have a website member support center that can answer technical questions

4. Customer service. Your provider should have knowledgeable customer service representatives who understand what is covered by the policy and what is not, how much a particular procedure may cost in your area, and recommend good doctors to you.

In summary, as a senior, there is a lot you can do for your eyes – and be smart about the policy you take out as vision insurance.

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