Restoring Sight Worldwide Could Save $202 Billion Each Year
SYDNEY, Australia—A global investment of $28 billion to provide vision care for five years to the 703 million people throughout the world with uncorrected refractive error would result in an annual savings of $202 billion to the international economy, according to a new
study conducted by researchers from the
Brien Holden Vision Institute.
“Spending $28 billion to train eyecare personnel, establish infrastructure and provide spectacles is a drop in the ocean compared with the annual cost to the global economy,” said co-author of the study, Professor Brien Holden, CEO of the Institute. “By restoring people’s vision, we’re generating massive economic benefits for society. A trained eyecare provider can assess someone’s vision correction need and prescribe and fit a pair of glasses in around 30 minutes. A pair of spectacles can be made available for as little as $2.”
Conducted by researchers from the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia and South Africa along with John Hopkins University in the U.S., the study calculated the cost of training 47,000 eyecare professionals to assess vision and 18,000 optical dispensers to provide the eyeglasses plus the expense of building facilities for them to operate in. The investment would be enough to cover costs for five years, after which revenue generated by the services would sustain them, according to the study. Dr. David Wilson, research manager for Asia-Pacific at the Brien Holden Vision Institute observed, “Even when conservative assumptions were used, the cost of establishing systems to correct all vision impairing refractive error in the world is only about 2.4 percent of the estimated five-year productivity loss associated with distance-only vision impairing refractive error.”
“The study also does not factor in the economic burden of presbyopia,” said Tim Fricke, former Brien Holden Vision Institute researcher and author of the paper. “The cost only applies to distance vision impairment, and there are about five times as many people who have uncorrected near vision impairment [presbyopia]. Thus the real burden of uncorrected refractive error is, in fact, much higher.”
To reach customer service, please call (800) 825-4696.
© 2013 VisionMonday. All Rights Reserved