Vision Care is Essential for Growing Children


Studies have shown that a lack of vision care can have harmful effects on a child’s growth. According to recent surveys, over half of all parents overlook their child’s eye health, which can impede their learning and increase their risk of developing diseases.

Eye exams are especially important for growing children. A child’s intellectual development is deeply connected to their senses, as over 70% of learning happens through sight. That means anything that interferes with a child’s concentration can affect their ability to learn. Vision problems affect 25% of all school age children – that’s a big fraction of kids who are learning at a disadvantage, especially if their needs haven’t yet been discovered. This can have a serious impact on academic performance, leading to further issues down the line.

Eye exams do much more for a child’s health than just check for vision issues, however. A comprehensive eye exam can now detect over 250 diseases throughout the body, making them crucial for maintaining one’s quality of life. That’s because the body is interconnected in ways that allow eye exams to discover conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. While we often associate these diseases with adulthood and advanced age, these same symptoms can also be found in younger patients.

Studies say that over 60% of parents do not take their kids for routine eye exams – that means their vision could be declining for months before anyone realizes. This statistic is especially alarming since studies say that 60% of kids with learning disabilities have an undetected vision impairment. Some vision issues, called “functional vision problems”, aren’t even related to how clear one’s eyesight is, meaning that it’s possible for a child to have trouble focusing on their work without any obvious signs. In cases like these only an eye exam will be able to uncover the problem.

GVS prioritizes connecting families to the eye care they need. Our vision plan options can cover your entire immediate family, so you can conveniently and affordably stay on top of your child’s vision needs and development.

Vision Coverage Saves Lives

Vision is an essential part of life and work. In fact, we use our sight so frequently that we can sometimes take it for granted. But as much as our eyes help us in our everyday lives, their most valuable role could be in safeguarding our health.


Vision care is an affordable and effective way for employees to stay fit for years to come. That’s because it protects a person’s overall health, beyond just sight. Our bodies are interconnected in such a way that eye exams can discover problems all throughout the body. They can detect hundreds of chronic health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a well-known fact that the earlier health issues are discovered, the better the chances are for successful treatment. For instance, diseases like diabetes or glaucoma can cause irreparable damage if not caught early, yet their effects begin long before the symptoms become noticeable. This means every routine eye exam could be the first step to preventing a life-threatening illness.


In a recent discussion with one of our in-network optometrists, she explained how she discovered diabetes in a patient who had no obvious symptoms. By photographing the back of the patient’s eye, they were able to find hemorrhages in the blood vessels that pointed to a systemic issue. With this warning the patient was then able to seek out a successful treatment.


Similarly, I have also encountered a personal situation in which an eye exam has saved a life. Several years ago, a friend of mine accompanied his father to what was supposed to be a routine eye exam. But it quickly became an emergency when the exam found that he had dangerously high blood pressure. With this warning they were able to rush my friend’s dad to the hospital, saving him from a stroke. Because eye exams are the only way to see naked blood vessels without surgery, they are the most economical and least invasive way to check for diseases.


People often underestimate the importance of vision care and don’t prioritize getting their eyes examined. This is a big gamble because the deterioration in one’s eyes is often so gradual that they can cross a point of no return without warning. For the best precaution, optical professionals suggest getting your eyes examined at least once a year. And it’s important that those who have been diagnosed with diabetes or similar diseases get regular eye exams, as those conditions can be especially damaging to the eyes.


Eye exams should not be seen as the be-all end-all for avoiding serious diseases, but rather a first line of defense. It’s one of the only ways to detect illness without surgery. They provide employees with an important tool to stay healthy, making them more productive and efficient in the workplace.


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GHS: Cutting Costs and Offering More

May 23, 2016
By Peter Murdoch 

New York, NY – Hearing loss is no longer just your grandfather’s problem. Studies indicate that over the next 10 to 15 years, nearly one-third of the general population will actually be hearing impaired. Already, those below retirement age represent the majority of people suffering at least some degree of hearing loss. And that includes both men and women alike.

Ubiquitous electronic devices designed for entertainment — everything from iPods to home theaters with surround sound — are partly to blame, exposing kids to ever more harmful noises at much earlier ages. The damage is cumulative so that by the time we reach our 40s, our eyesight isn’t the only sense that begins to falter.

Working — and even just living in the big city — only makes matters worse.  Not surprisingly, members of noisy construction trades are particularly vulnerable to hearing loss. One recent study finds that a 20-year-old carpenter entering the industry who fails to avail him- or herself to proper noise protection gear, risks profound damage to his or her hearing. Left unprotected, that same 20-year-old apprentice carpenter could wind up with the hearing of a 55-year-old veteran after just five years on the job.

Hearing aids are better than they’ve ever been — but carry hefty price tags. The average cost of a digital processing device with noise-canceling properties is about $2500. And the collective lifespans of these miraculous devices is finite — about five to six years. Most union benefit plans roughly offering $500 allowances every couple of years, really aren’t effective ways of offsetting the out-of-pocket cost for a member.

GHS — General Hearing Services, a division of General Vision Services — is taking a different approach. By utilizing the EPIC network of some 6,000 providers nationwide, the company is able to offer members significant discounts (up to 60 percent) on cutting-edge hearing devices. Together, with greater allowances occurring less often, GHS is offering the New York labor market a new product model capable of greatly relieving hearing aid sticker shock — and in some cases, even providing members with a “paid-in-full benefit.”

“Generally, when somebody doesn’t have access to a network, providers are trying to up-sell the clients to the most expensive products — so that whatever benefits are being provided through the funds, really aren’t able to minimize their out of pocket expense,” Sales & Marketing Director Mike Reha says.

GHS even offers members a three-year-warranty on hearing devices, as well as a one-year supply of batteries.Your good hearing is vulnerable like never before.

One union official explains his group’s experience with GHS this way: “The hearing program is valuable since our membership is exposed to loud noises on the streets each day. We promote the hearing

program to encourage our members to get their ears checked regularly in the event of hearing loss. We made a smart decision recently to implement this program with GHS to educate and promote this service onto our membership.  Healthy members are productive, happy members.”

GHS wants members to think about hearing the same way they do about their eyesight and their teeth. Both demand constant vigilance and attention — and so should our hearing.

“The reason you do this is to prevent further issues down the road,” GHS’ Tony Rosario explains. “We’re creating more awareness so that more people don’t become early candidates for hearing loss.

Together with GVS — General Vision Services — GHS is the only company now out there combining vision and health benefits is a single holistic plan that stresses health & well-being, in addition to comprehensive cost savings.

The approach, Rosario says, is a “no-brainer” that more unions are eagerly embracing.

Click here for more information about GHS’ health & wellness program.


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Safeguarding Your Health — And looking Great Doing It with GVS!

It’s break time at MTA bus depots, train yards, overhaul shops, maintenance facilities and warehouses throughout the city, but the most hotly anticipated vehicle rolling up to the worksite probably isn’t the local food truck — it’s General Vision Service’s Mobile Eye Care Center.

Outfitted with advanced diagnostic testing, as well as access to hundreds of today’s most sought after fashion frames — GVS’ fleet of Mobile Eye Care Center vans is making it easy for working men and women across a variety of job sites throughout the metropolitan area to safeguard their health — and look great doing it.

“It’s a full eye care store on wheels,” says CEO Myles Lewis.

Each GVS Mobile Eye Care Center will spend eight full hours at a worksite, regularly accommodating over 30 patients per visit. The ability to see as many as five workers at a time, streamlines the entire examination experience even further.

As much of 80 percent of learning occurs through sight — so, the impact of superior vision on productivity cannot be overstated. And in addition to fashion frames, GVS Mobile Eye Care Centers also cater to those in need of prescription eyewear.

“The GVS Mobile Eye Care van provides an invaluable optical service to our members who are located at various facilities throughout the New York Metro area,” TWU Local 100’s Chris Lightbourne says. “Most of our members are too diligently working to schedule a proper eye doctor visit. The GVS Mobile Eye Care facilitates this in ways that are so important to hard to reach Transit workers, such as track workers, train operators and bus operators. We are very appreciative of this service as we know we are unable to obtain this type of service with any other vision provider.”

But a complete eye exam is crucial to workers for another fundamental reason, as well. It is the only non-surgical procedure that gives doctors the ability to detect over 30 systemic conditions not only of the eye — but the entire body.

The comprehensive examinations that optometrists administer at all in-network provider locations and soon in the GVS’ Mobile Eye Care Centers, can detect and identify the presence of serious health threats including, diabetes, hypertension, HIV, tumors of the brain and more. In fact, it’s not uncommon for someone to be whisked to an emergency room for lifesaving treatment after an eye examination has revealed a serious medical issue in progress.

“The effectiveness of a routine eye exam has helped save lives,” Tony Rosario, GVS senior vice-president says.

Regular eye exams are also smart for another reason — they’re proven extremely important in achieving longterm savings.

“The only way to bend the cost curve in healthcare is early detection,” Lewis says. “That would require annual eye exams. The reality of it is, you have to have an annual eye exam. They should almost pay people to get an annual eye exam — and, in fact, we are seeing that now.”

With more than 60 years of history behind it, GVS presently manages vision care benefits for some 400 active unions, including TWU Local 100.

Despite the essential nature of proper eye care, or perhaps because of it, designer eyeglass frames are terribly pricey. Recent studies rank them among the highest markup items in any retail industry — behind only bottled water and movie popcorn. Overall, consumers can expect to shell out an average of $400 on eyeglasses.

GVS’ benefit programs, however, will cover the high cost of that $400 retail price and even more for its covered members, depending on how benefits are structured for a particular employer group.

“We have collections in approximately 200 locations where members can choose from up to 200-250 frames that would be covered in full, or at a fixed cost to the member so that it’s not sticker shock when a member’s purchasing frames,” Rosario says.

GVS coverage is actually even more extensive than that, providing members allowances of approximately $100 to $200 on virtually any eyeglass frame they may desire.

“And that is consistent with our national program, too, where we go one step further, and have a cost containment formula that allows those programs nationally to cover about approximately 33,000 frames at no cost to the member,” Rosario says.

Another inescapable cost involves the lenses themselves. Newer technologies for progressive lenses, and lenses treated with anti-glare coatings carry hefty price tags. But GVS has members covered on that score as well — saving them between 50 to 60 percent off retail.

“When a member goes in and they have a need for eyeglasses, they really get excited when they’re walking away with a pair of designer eyeglasses,” Rosario says. “Everybody is in tune to how they look.”