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David B. Rein; Vision Problems Are a Leading Source of Modifiable Health Expenditures. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(14):ORSF18-ORSF22. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12818.
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According to recent studies, visual problems represent one of the top contributors to economic health burden in the United States. This burden is divided nearly equally between direct expenditures for the care and treatment of visual problems, and the indirect costs of outcomes caused by low vision, including productivity losses, the cost of care, and incremental nursing home placements. A large amount of academic research is devoted to visual science, the biology of the visual system, and the medical treatment of visual disorders. Compared to the burden, a disproportionate share of this research is devoted to the study of retinal disorders and glaucoma. This is understandable, as research into the retina and optic nerve has the potential to unlock fundamental insights into the nature of sight and visual cognition. However, population visual health and the functionality that depends upon it also may benefit greatly from additional research into areas of prevention, rehabilitation, and adaptation. In addition, comparative research into the benefits of resource allocation across prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative resources could lead to improvements in population health.
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