Reflecting on 20 years in the vision industry

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and it must be true. Hard as it is for me to believe, this summer marks 20 years of my career spent in the vision industry. This business has been good for me, personally and professionally. The work is rewarding and I’ve learned a lot — I’ve had the chance to see the impact great vision benefits can have on employee populations. And so I’ve decided to give back over the course of 2019 by sharing some tips based on what I’ve learned along the way.

Tip #1: Don’t forgo the vision plan!

This might be my most important tip. Don’t forgo adding a vision plan to your benefits portfolio. You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Vision is something prospective employees want, and you can offer it as a voluntary benefit at no cost to you.

Vision benefits help you win the war on talent. Some quick stats:

  • For 62 percent of employees, vision benefits are a “must have” in order to accept a job offer.1
  • About 56 percent of employers offer some type of vision plan.2 Just over half offer it on a voluntary basis, with the employee paying the premium.3
  • A full 86 percent of employees believe – correctly – that a vision plan is important to maintaining their overall health and wellbeing.1 And that brings us to the other key reason to include a vision plan in your benefits package…

Vision benefits improve the health and productivity of your workforce. Through regular vision exams, we can track subtle health changes over time. The eyes are the only place on the body where we can see the blood vessels without invasive procedures. We can make more than ten different diagnoses, including cancer, diabetes, blood clots, autoimmune disease, hypertension and more – just from a simple eye exam.

An eye exam can catch changes early enough to even prevent many of these conditions. This simple, non-invasive glimpse into a person’s overall health can affect their health outcomes and their lives. Having an annual eye exam is the single most important preventive care measure your employees can take, even if they don’t need glasses.

As I reflect on two decades in the vision industry, this is what I appreciate the most. It’s meaningful to be able to do work that affects people’s lives, and create a model that allows better health outcomes through a simple eye exam. It inspires me every day and drives me to make that model better.

John Thorp is Staff Vice President of Vision Services at Anthem, Inc., and is a past board member of the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP). At Anthem, he is responsible for the Blue View Vision growth strategy, as well as Anthem’s partnerships with EyeMed Vision Care, Transitions and 1-800-CONTACTS. He is committed to improving the lives of the people Anthem serves through the integration of Blue View Vision with Anthem Whole Health Connections.


1 Employee Perceptions on Pharmacy & Specialty Benefits, Anthem Report 2018

2 LIMRA Employer Study: Benefit Communication and Enrollment, June 27, 2016

3 Health and Wellbeing Touchstone Survey results, PWC Report 2018