April 2011
Volume 52, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2011
The Global Cost of Vision Loss
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Keith D. Gordon
    Research, Canadian National Inst for the Blind, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Alan F. Cruess
    Ophthalmology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Adam Gordois
    Access Economics Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
  • Henry Cutler
    Access Economics Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
  • Lynne Pezzullo
    Access Economics Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
  • Steve Winyard
    Royal National Inst for the Blind, London, United Kingdom
  • Wanda Hamilton
    Royal National Inst for the Blind, London, United Kingdom
  • Kathleen Chua
    Access Economics Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Keith D. Gordon, None; Alan F. Cruess, None; Adam Gordois, None; Henry Cutler, None; Lynne Pezzullo, None; Steve Winyard, None; Wanda Hamilton, None; Kathleen Chua, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Funding received from AMD Alliance International
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2011, Vol.52, 5543. doi:
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      Keith D. Gordon, Alan F. Cruess, Adam Gordois, Henry Cutler, Lynne Pezzullo, Steve Winyard, Wanda Hamilton, Kathleen Chua; The Global Cost of Vision Loss. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5543.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

Purpose: : Low vision and blindness place very considerable and increasing strains on economies and health care resources worldwide. This study, commissioned by AMD Alliance International, aims to provide a best estimate of the worldwide direct and indirect costs of visual impairment (VI) and the associated health burden. This poster will highlight results and the need for coordinated action to reduce the economic and personal burden of unnecessary sight loss.

Methods: : Costs and the health burden of VI were estimated for each World Health Organization subregion using published disease prevalence rates, health care expenditures, and other economic data.Prevalence rates for mild VI , moderate VI, and blindness were applied to population forecasts for each subregion. Country cost data were extrapolated between subregions using economic and population health indicators. Age and gender subgroup population numbers were derived from United Nations’ data.Main outcome measures were direct health care expenditure, informal caregiver time, lost productivity, and inefficiencies in raising tax revenue to fund health care.

Results: : The findings from this study represent the most definitive data available about the global cost of vision loss. Worldwide, the cost of VI was estimated at $3 trillion. Direct health costs ($2.3 trillion) were the largest component of these costs, but in addition it was estimated that 17% of the total worldwide cost is due to lost productivity, premature death due to VI, and to the value of informal caregiver time.The estimated global financial cost of uncorrected refractive error was $1.6 trillion and of Age-related macular Degeneration (AMD) was $0.3 trillion.

Conclusions: : These results highlight the enormous worldwide costs of vision loss and the need to tackle the causes from a global perspective. The burden of VI can be reduced through early implementation of national vision health plans which include effective prevention, treatment and low vision rehabilitation strategies.

Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: health care delivery/economics/manpower 

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