The big short: myopia is costing £187b annually in lost productivity

The Brien Holden Vision Institute has estimated that the financial burden of short-sightedness is more than 1% of GDP in South East Asia

Eye with the world on it

New research published in Ophthalmology estimated that myopia resulted in a financial burden of $244b (£187b) in lost productivity across the globe in 2015.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Brien Holden Vision Institute, estimated that there are 538 million people with vision impairment as a result of uncorrected myopia worldwide.

The economic impact of short-sightedness is greatest in East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia, where the toll on productivity is more than 1% of each region’s gross domestic product.

Study co-author, Tim Fricke, from the Brien Holden Vision Institute, observed that on the basis of current trends it is expected there will be 2.6 billion people with myopia globally in 2020.

“While the majority will have access to corrective lenses such as spectacles and contact lenses, enabling them to have good vision, current service capacity will leave well under a billion people unable to access an eye examination and appropriate correction,” he emphasised.

Mr Fricke added that vision impairment can affect employment, education and social interactions.

The recent study explored the economic burden of the condition, he shared.

“For a single health condition to result in a loss of over 1% of GDP is enormously important. The findings also service to highlight the potential value in funding the interventions needed to eliminate this unnecessary impairment,” Mr Fricke concluded.

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