Line separator

RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

The Economic Impact and Cost of Visual Impairment in Australia

AUTHOR:

Hugh R. Taylor

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2005

PUBLICATION:

British Journal of Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Vision disorders cost Australia an estimated A$9.85 billion in 2004.

  • Direct health system costs total A$1.8 billion. They have increased by A$1 billion over the last 10 years and will increase a further A$1–2 billion in the next 10 years.

  • Cataract, the largest direct cost, takes 18% of expenditure.

  • Even a developed economy such as Australia’s cannot afford avoidable vision loss.

  • Priority needs to be given to prevent preventable vision loss; to treat treatable eye diseases; and to increase research into vision loss that can be neither prevented nor treated.

SUMMARY

Vision disorders cost Australia an estimated A$9.85 billion in 2004. A$4.8 billion is the loss of wellbeing (years of life lost as a result of disability and premature mortality).

Vision disorders rank seventh and account for 2.7% of the national loss of wellbeing. Direct health system costs total A$1.8 billion. They have increased by A$1 billion over the last 10 years and will increase a further A$1–2 billion in the next 10 years.


Cataract, the largest direct cost, takes 18% of expenditure. The health system costs place vision disorders seventh, ahead of coronary heart disease, diabetes, depression, and stroke. Indirect costs, A$3.2 billion, include carers’ costs, low vision aids, lost earnings, and other welfare payments and taxes.


Even a developed economy such as Australia’s cannot afford avoidable vision loss. Priority needs to be given to prevent preventable vision loss; to treat treatable eye diseases; and to increase research into vision loss that can be neither prevented nor treated.