Bringing 20/20 vision to the office

This mobile clinic travels to work sites to provide employees with eye exams.
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Poor vision affects overall health and workplace productivity, but only half of the 61 million U.S. adults at risk of losing their vision had an eye exam in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new benefit is making eye exams more convenient and accessible with their mobile optometry offering. Employees using 2020 Onsite will only have to walk to their conference room or outside their building to get a new pair of glasses.

“Almost no one knows eye exams can detect serious diseases like diabetes, cancer and glaucoma,” says Alexis McLaughlin, CEO of the Boston-based mobile optometry benefit company. “Getting regular eye exams can save lives and money in the long term for employees and their employer.”

McLaughlin spoke about the importance of bringing accessible eye care and exams directly to the employer/office.

Why is onsite eye care crucial to helping employers manage their employees' vision care?

Working professionals say they don’t have time to visit the eye doctor, and they don’t know how their insurance works. Employers should definitely educate their workforce about their vision benefits, but our company was founded to eliminate the excuses and make it as easy as possible to receive eye care.

We’re a mobile onsite clinic serving the Boston, Chicago and Atlanta areas. Our five vans are outfitted as a full optometrist clinic, with the same retail experience you’d get at a brick and mortar location. Patients receive a full comprehensive eye exam, and can shop for a new pair of glasses, which will be shipped to their home in seven days. Patients can also bring in a current prescription to get new glasses.

We also have the ability to create the same experience in a company’s conference room.

Why is it so important to have regular eye exams?

Most people don’t know that many of the first warning signs of serious disease show up in the eyes first. In many cases, the sooner you know you’re at risk, you can take steps to prevent the disease from going further.

For example, one of our doctors found glaucoma in one of our patients; the man was very emotional that our doctor saved his vision. Another of our doctors discovered a patient had a detached retina, and we were able to coordinate with local providers so they could have surgery the same day.

In addition to your health, your productivity at work can decrease by 20% if you have vision problems. When your vision isn’t good, you’ll likely suffer headaches at work, which can be really distracting. We’re [also] seeing a lot more problems with digital eye strain.

Does your model work with benefit plans?

Benefit managers send us all their benefits information ahead of our visit and we create a customized booking site they share with their workforce. The site is HIPPA protected and allows employees to make appointments for when we visit their office.

We work with most health and vision plans. We’re in-network with EyeMed Vision Benefits, the second largest provider of vision benefits in the U.S. The largest provider, VSP, is out-of-network, but we do work with employers who have them — about 40% of our clients have VSP.

What employers do you work with, and how do they feel about the experience?

There’s no additional cost to companies to have us visit their worksite, though there may be a travel fee if we have to drive long distances to the worksite. We typically serve large employers; some of our clients include Wayfair, Hubspot, Ocean Spray and Boston College. We also serve a lot of medical providers and cancer institutes. A lot of our clients are in manufacturing, and we’re able to make prescription safety glasses and perform eye tests to ensure their workers are compliant.

We have a 97% retention rate for clients, which is unheard of for most businesses. Many companies we visit love the convenience, especially when they don’t even have to go outside because we set up in their conference room. It also makes eye appointments more social; people told us they like that they can bring their office friends over to help them choose new glasses.

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