Some people consider their vision to be a personal issue – they believe it only affects those who have vision problems directly. However, the loss of productivity that results from uncorrected vision issues has a far-reaching impact, from the individual level all the way up to the global economy.
The negative impacts of visual impairment that result from uncorrected refractive errors, including presbyopia, are estimated to cost the global economy a staggering $272 billion. Presbyopia alone has significant effects on productivity in the workforce of lower-income countries. A recent study of factory workers in India found that nearly 80 percent of the total people tested had uncorrected vision issues, and of those, 75 percent had presbyopia. Once they received corrective lenses, however, productivity in the factory increased across the board. A similar study in a Nigerian tertiary hospital revealed that 42 percent of the workers studied had presbyopia. Of those who needed vision correction, only about 50 percent were corrected.
A lack of awareness and perceived need are common barriers to using corrective lenses, and it’s this attitude which needs to be addressed in lower-income countries, where research shows 94 percent of presbyopia cases in lower-income countries are uncorrected or undercorrected. And presbyopia soon may be overshadowed by another equally as costly refractive error: myopia.
A new study has just revealed that myopia and high myopia are problems which will see exponential growth in the next three decades, with 5 billion people worldwide being myopic by the year 2050. Myopia will become a leading cause of permanent blindness globally, with one in ten people at risk for developing blindness. The issue will even highly affect developed countries, as time spent on electronic devices is considered a large contributing factor.
Given these statistics, can you imagine how myopia might affect the overall losses to societies where vision correction access is minimal and the importance of vision correction is misunderstood? It is more important now than ever before that we pursue awareness of the dramatic improvement vision correction can make to the productivity and quality of life for people around the world. Together, we can make this change. Let’s continue Giving Vision a Voice.