New study suggests economic case for prioritizing myopia management
- Published in the journal Ophthalmology, study indicates vision impairment and blindness caused by uncorrected myopia (nearsightedness) cost the global economy an estimated US$244 billion in lost productivity in 2015.
- East Asia, including China, accounts for largest burden of productivity loss of over US$150 billion.
- The potential productivity loss associated with vision impairment and blindness from uncorrected myopia is greater than cost of correction.
- Study funded by Vision Impact Institute and Brien Holden Vision Institute.
Employers everywhere are constantly striving to enhance worker productivity. A new study from the journal Ophthalmology suggests a solution. Correcting nearsightedness could be key.
Conducted by global researchers, the study indicates that vision impairment caused by uncorrected myopia cost the global economy an estimated US$244 billion in lost productivity in 2015. While the issue is global, in East Asia, productivity loss exceeds $150 billion.
“Myopia has always been a real threat to public health, but we are anticipating crisis levels. It’s a public health issue projected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050,” says Prof. Kovin Naidoo, Senior Vice President, 2.5 NVG Inclusive Business, Philanthropy and Social Impact, Essilor, and the study’s lead author. “Now, our research proves that there are accompanying economic implications. The good news – the issue is correctable with an already-existing solution.”
The study finds that a one-off investment of US$20 billion over 5 years would establish services to provide vision correction to all who need it, potentially leading to a significant savings in productivity loss.
“While this research highlights the connection between myopia and productivity, the consequences are far-reaching,” says Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute. “Eyesight also impacts education, child development, and road safety. And for countries, several UN Sustainable Development Goals; #1 (No poverty), #4 (Quality Education), #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and #10 (Reduced Inequalities), won’t be met without good vision.”