VSP Vision Care Names 2013's Most Eye Healthy Cities

Study Reveals Women Actively Care for Their Eyes More Than Men

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., June 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- VSP® Vision Care (VSP) announces the results of the 2013 Eye Health Index, revealing Boise City, Idaho, as the top city where more residents took care of their eyes in 2012. In fact, Boise City had the highest rate of eye exams compared to any other city on the index for the past two years.

The Eye Health Index reviews tens of millions of VSP claims from more than 100 geographic areas across the country to identify which cities and regions are the most focused on maintaining their eye health.1 VSP (www.vsp.com), the largest not-for-profit vision benefits company in the United States with 59 million members, began analyzing claim data in 2012 to recognize the top cities whose citizens are getting eye exams as part of their healthcare routine. In addition to helping identify vision correction needs, eye exams also help ensure that the eyes and body are healthy, as eye doctors are often first to detect signs of serious health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

For 2013, Boise City and Des Moines, Iowa, made the top 10 for the first time. The Sacramento, Calif., and Oklahoma City-Tulsa, Okla., regions showed strong gains, jumping from No. #10 and No. #9 to No. #2 and No. #3, respectively. Additionally, the analysis showed that women—who are statistically at a greater risk for eye-related diseases—take a more concerted effort to care for their eyes. Women go to the eye doctor 28 percent more than men and represent about 60 percent of the eye exam claim analyzed.2

The Top 10 2013 Eye Healthy Regions in the United States:

  1. Boise, Idaho
  2. Sacramento, Calif. (No. #10 in 2012)
  3. Oklahoma City-Tulsa, Okla. (No. #9 in 2012)
  4. Wichita, Kan. (No. #2 in 2012)
  5. Columbus, OH (No. #6 in 2012)
  6. Des Moines, Iowa
  7. Birmingham, Ala. (No. #4 in 2012)2
  8. Denver, Colo. (No. #5 in 2012)
  9. Raleigh, N.C. (No. #3 in 2012)
  10. Bay Area, Calif. (San Jose was No. #7 in 2012)1

All markets include the greater surrounding geographic area.

"VSP Vision Care travels around the country, with programs like Eye on Diabetes, to help educate people about the importance of eyecare, so we're thrilled to see some of the cities that we have visited make this year's list," said Susan Egbert, director of eye health strategies at VSP Vision Care. "We commend everyone who took part in ensuring that this important exam is part of everyone's healthcare routine."

Eye doctors can detect signs of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension—which currently affect more than 140 million people in the United States (according to the Center for Disease Control)—before any other healthcare provider up to 65 percent of the time. This is due to the fact that an eye exam provides the only non-invasive, unobstructed view of a person's blood vessels. Through early disease detection and treatment, eye exams are an inexpensive and effective method for consumers to have an opportunity to enter the healthcare system earlier.

To ensure an accurate result, data was based on the percentage of people covered by VSP who received an eye exam in 2012 in greater city areas in which at least 95,000 people have VSP.

1 In 2013, cities were uniformly grouped by region and were not restricted to specific city limits. For example, San Jose, Calif., was listed separately in 2012 but was grouped into The Greater Bay Area for 2013. Similarly, Columbus, Ohio, was expanded this year to include central Ohio. These refined groups provide a more accurate reflection each area's attitude toward vision care.

2 VSP Vision Care's 59 million members are equally split between male and female, indicating the average split for women and men exam claims is significant. In 2013, the Greater Birmingham Area, Ala., had the highest percentage of female eye exams.

About VSP Global

VSP Global® includes VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 59 million members; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity® which offers innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; and VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.

To date, through VSP community outreach programs such as VSP Mobile Eyes® and Sight for Students®, and through relationships including those with the American Red Cross and Prevent Blindness America, VSP has invested close to $155 million in free eyecare and eyewear for more than 825,000 adults and children in need throughout the United States.

Photos accompanying this release are available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=19204 and http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=19205

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