Vision Council of America Encourages Eye Health for Members of the Military

Vision Council of America Encourages Eye Health for Members of the Military

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2007) – In support of the men and women serving in the U.S. military, the Vision Council of America (VCA) is encouraging service members to take advantage of the various vision health benefits available to them and their families, including regular eye exams. In addition to determining the need for eyeglasses and detecting vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, eye exams can serve as an early warning system for other health conditions.
Eye examinations can help identify diseases and health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure, says ophthalmologist Elaine G. Hathaway, M.D.  “Eye diseases can also be detected in their early stages, before they cause vision loss and when they are most treatable.

Fortunately, vision health benefits are available for all branches of the armed services, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Commission Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Benefits are available for Active Duty personnel, Retirees, Reservists and Guard members called to Activity and some family members.

General vision benefits are available to active duty family members, who are eligible for one comprehensive ophthalmologic eye exam annually. Pediatric vision screening is available at birth and six months of age and comprehensive exams are authorized every other year between the ages of three and six. Diabetic patients of all ages are eligible for comprehensive eye exams every year.

Dr. Hathaway says that while she encourages vision care for everyone, it is especially critical for men and women in the military to take advantage of vision benefits. “They are in vulnerable positions every day, and at the very least, they should know that their eyes are healthy,” she says. “Members of the military have better vision benefits and more access to them than at any other time in history, so we hope they take advantage of that and take care of themselves.”

Active Duty members are also eligible for lenses or eyeglasses, and other plan participants share costs for treatment of other conditions such as dry eyes, irregularities in eye shape, and loss of human lens function.
Aside from visiting an eye doctor for an eye exam, there are several warning signs of potential vision disorders. VCA recommends that military men and women be vigilant of the following symptoms of eye problems:

  • Trouble seeing objects at near or far distances
  • Colors that seem faded
  • Poor night vision (increase in glare and halos)
  • Double or multiple vision
  • Loss of peripheral (side) vision
  • Redness and discomfort from a fleshy growth over the eye surface

For more information on vision benefits, members of the military should contact their local beneficiary counseling, assistance coordinator or health benefits advisor, or military treatment facility.

|Armed Service Offers Extensive Vision Benefits|Vision Council Member News 2002|~The Vision Council Releases Vision Coverage Report||Alexandria, VA (October 14, 2008) - While concerns about the economy have taken center stage in the upcoming election, worries about the rising cost of health care still weigh heavily on the minds of most Americans. For the 120 million Americans with vision problems, as well as the many others who place a high value on maintaining healthy vision, the lack of vision coverage is a primary concern. 

According to a new report issued by The Vision Council, Vision Care: Focusing on the Workplace Benefit, two-thirds of Americans say they would be more willing to get an eye exam if they had some coverage, yet only 17 percent of employers report offering vision insurance. Vision benefits lag behind health and dental benefits, with as many as 44 percent of employers offering dental coverage.

“We know that in today’s tough economy everyone is taking another look at their finances,” said Ed Greene, chief executive officer for The Vision Council. “As the second most prevalent health condition in the country, vision disorders affect individuals and businesses, making vision coverage an important benefit for both groups.”

Vision health is highly valued by most Americans according to the National Eye Institute. When asked what conditions would most affect their day-to-day living, a majority of Americans rated loss of eyesight as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

While Americans place a high value on healthy vision, many have real concerns about paying for vision care. Nearly 40 percent fear they cannot afford adequate treatment. Sixty-three percent say they would sign up for vision care coverage if given the opportunity, even if it meant paying a small amount each month.

With 11 million Americans living with an uncorrected vision problem, a number expected to rise as the population ages, the expense to businesses can also be severe. According to the report, the annual financial burden to the U.S. economy of major adult vision disorders exceeds $35 billion, including an estimated $8 billion in lost productivity.

As with many other benefits, employers are increasingly forced to pass along some of the cost of providing health insurance to employees. Offering vision coverage can help employers enhance their benefits package at a relatively low cost. Such coverage typically costs one-tenth that of medical benefits, and is often utilized more by employees than medical plans.

“The good news is that there is greater awareness among employers and employees about the importance of healthy vision,” said Greene. “However we still have a long way to meet the vision health needs that are valued greatly by Americans.”

The Vision Council encourages employers and employees to take steps to ensure healthy vision. For a copy of the full report, please click here.


Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We provide a forum to advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.||Vision Council Member News 3574|~The Vision Council Holds Annual Executive Summit||


Alexandria, VA (February 4, 2009)- The Vision Council officially inducted its 2009 officers and board of directors at its Executive Summit held at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, January 28-30, 2009.

Michael Daley of Essilor was installed as the chairman, as well as James Shyer of Zyloware Eyewear as vice-chair, Doug Hepper of Vision-Ease Lens as secretary/treasurer and Larry Clarke of Satisloh North America, Inc. as immediate past chairman. Also elected for second term renewals were Pierre Fay of Luxottica Group, Donald Howard of Kenmark Group and Dick Russo of Safilo USA.

The Vision Council division chairs also serve on the board and include:

  • Eyewear and Accessories Division: Andrea Gluck, Eyewear Designs Limited
  • Lens Division: Raanan Naftalovich, Shamir Lens
  • Lens Processing Technology Division: John Fried, A&R Optical Machinery
  • Low Vision Division: Geoffrey Moss, Eschenbach Optik of America
  • Sunglass and Reader Division: David Bibbey, Zoom Eyeworks
  • Better Vision Institute: Tom Abbott, Everett Clinic Vision Center


This year's Executive Summit provided the over 150 attendees with an opportunity to participate in The Vision Council member, division and committee meetings, as well as a number of networking events. The Summit's keynote speaker, renowned business strategist and best-selling author of Double-Digit Growth Michael Treacy, provided valuable tips about growing the market in a tough economy and relatively flat industry. Attendees also heard from economist Jeff Thredgold who discussed the current state of the economy, financial markets government and the future business environment.

Executive Summit attendees also had a chance to play in a golf tournament on Thursday, January 29, at the resort. The Vision Council would like to congratulate the following winners:

  • First place team: Grady Lenski and Connie Falvo, Transitions; Richard Daily, Shamir Lens and Joe Savaresse, Jobson
  • Second place team: David Cole, Transitions; Bart Foster, SoloHealth and Barry Baressi, OD, AOA
  • Third place team: Bill Harrison and Dick Russo, Safilo and Dennis Davis and Harry Aida, Charmant USA
  • Closest to the pin: Pete Kehoe, OD, AOA
  • Longest drive: David Cole, Transitions

The annual VisionPAC event was also held on Thursday evening. With a Superbowl theme, the event raised over $5,000 to help assist political candidates who support vision care issues.

The Vision Council’s next Executive Summit is scheduled for January 27-29, 2010, at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Fla.


Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We provide a forum to advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.


||Vision Council Member News 3665|~Attention Frame Buyers: Gain Valuable Business Skills at International Vision Expo East||

Eyecare Business, is designed to help eye care professionals maximize dispensary profit potential.

The Frame Buyer’s Certificate program offers 15 hours of continuing education dealing specifically with inventory management and teaches participants

  • Frame Technology & Design - What's New, What's Now (Course #2309)
    Friday, March 27; 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Want vs. Need - Creating Eyewear Desire (Course #2411)
    Friday, March 27; 3:15 PM - 5:15 PM

  • Managing Blind Dates and Breakups (Course #3208)
    Saturday, March 28; 9:45 AM - 11:45 AM

  • Professional Retailing For Eye Care Professionals (Course #3307)
    Saturday, March 28; 12:45 PM - 2:45 PM

  • Retail Merchandising Power Panel (Course #3308)
    Saturday, March 28; 12:45 PM - 2:45 PM

  • Retail Formulas & Financials for the Dispensary (Course #4311)
    Sunday, March 29;
    12:15 PM - 2:15 PM

To register for courses in the Frame Buyer’s Certificate program, visit For further information, please contact Rene Soltis, The Vision Council director of education and training, at or at (703) 740-1096.

Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.

Alexandria, VA (February 11, 2009) – To help eye care professionals grow their businesses, The Vision Council is pleased to offer continuing education courses at International Vision Expo East, held March 27-29, 2009, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The courses, sponsored by several divisions of The Vision Council, provide tips and resources for eye care professionals to expand their practice base and increase efficiency.

“In today’s economy it’s important for all businesses to look for ways to grow,” said Ed Greene, The Vision Council CEO. “By exploring new revenue options and refining their sales approach, eye care professionals can generate new business and increase sales.”

Continuing education courses cover a variety of topics from adding low vision services and vision protection offerings to one’s practice to how to present the latest lens options to how to get the most out of today’s in-house processing technology.

Courses are sponsored by The Vision Council’s Lens, Lens Processing and Technology and Low Vision Divisions and Vision Protection Committee. They include:


  • Low Vision: High Potential (Course # 2119)
    Friday, March 27; 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.


    ||Vision Council Member News 3831|~The Vision Council Offers Free On the Road Sales Coach Training||

    The Vision Council will launch a series of free sales training sessions for members. The quarterly sessions, called “On the Road Sales Coach,” will be conducted as facilitated conference calls and will cover topics of interest to sales professionals, including how to sustain business growth in a tough economy, cold calling and time management.

    The sales training will be led by industry experts and will also serve as an open forum for sales professionals to brainstorm and share best practices. Participants will also be able to submit questions prior to each training session.

    “The ‘On the Road Sales Coach’ training is a great way
    to enrich the skills of sales teams by providing quality content that is up to the minute,” said Rene Soltis, director of education and training for The Vision Council. “The distance learning format allows companies to control training costs by having their sales team participate in training that is accessible from any geographic region.”


    The 2009 “On the Road Sales Coach” sessions include:


    • Wednesday, March 4: “No Such Thing as Business as Usual”
    • Wednesday, June 3: “Reinventing the Cold Call”
    • Wednesday, September 2: “Time and Territory



      provide a forum to Alexandria, VA (April 1, 2009) – Long-standing efforts paid off yesterday as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009.” The bill received overwhelming support from the House and passed with a vote of 404-17 as part of a larger Public Health Week initiative of Congress.

      The “Vision Care for Kids Act,” H.R. 577, provides children with the follow-up care needed after being identified with a potential vision problem by a comprehensive eye exam or vision screening. Bill sponsors include Gene Green (D-TX), John Sullivan (R-OK), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

      According lead majority sponsor Green, unless caught early and appropriately treated, vision disorders can lead to irreversible damage that can hinder a child’s normal growth, development, and opportunity to succeed. These children deserve a healthy start to their educational and social development.”

      “Millions of children in the United States suffer from vision problems, many of which go undetected because of the lack of access to and the affordability of proper eye care,” said Sullivan, lead minority sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will bridge a chief gap in vision care – and allow children to receive treatment for their vision problems before it is too late.”


      The “Vision Care for Kids Act” is supported by the alliance of The Vision Council, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the American Optometric Association and Prevent Blindness America. Also supporting the bill are the National Association of School Nurses, National Association of Vision Care Plans, National Head Start Association, Opticians Association of America, Reading Is Fundamental and Vision Service Plan.

      “Our hard work over the years has led to a quick passage in the House of Representatives and we hope for the same in the Senate,” said Ed Greene, chief executive officer of The Vision Council. “Working together as an industry has helped to really move the bill through the process.”

      The Vision Council encourages all members of the vision community to contact their senators and ask them to support this legislation. For more information on the “Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009” or to write to your senators, visit

      provide a forum to


      ||Vision Council Member News 4870|~Anti-Reflective Lens Curriculum Introduced in Optometry Schools||Alexandria, VA (May 7, 2009) – The Vision Council has announced that it will provide an educational grant to the Association of Practice Management Educators (APME) to design and deliver learning modules to increase the understanding and awareness of prescribing anti-reflective technologies. Recently approved by the APME board, this will be the first time that a learning module on this subject will be included as part of the required practice management curriculum for all 17 colleges of optometry in the United States.

      The module will be taught to second- or third-year students and will be supported with materials and tools in each on-campus clinic. Currently there is no mandatory education on anti-reflective lens technology in the optometry colleges.

      “Current statistics show that anti-reflective usage in the United States is at 34 percent, far lower than the 70+ percent usage in Europe and 98 percent in Japan,” said John Quinn, chairman of The Vision Council’s Anti-Reflective Steering Committee. “Anti-reflective lenses can provide better vision. We are pleased to be able to assist APME and optical educators across the country so that the eye care professionals of the future fully understand the visual benefits of prescribing these lenses.”

      Sam Quintero, president of APME also noted that “partnerships like the one with The Vision Council can go a long way to increase the implementation of new technologies in patient care all across the country.” He continued, “We envision these types of programs will enable us to provide our students with the tools, information, and product experience that will give them a solid foundation to become tomorrow's leaders in eyecare.

      For more information, please contact Jeff Endres, technical director for The Vision Council, at (703) 740-2245 or at

      Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We provide a forum to advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.