Study highlights global economic burden of uncorrected myopia
The World Council of Optometry and Brien Holden Vision Institute are collaborating on Myopia Awareness Week, May 13 to 19, to improve communication about the impact of myopia.
“Ultimately, our efforts are about building a movement to fight this myopia epidemic that we all see coming,” World Council of Optometry President Scott Mundle, OD, said in a joint press release.
“There is much happening in research, product development and professional education to meet the myopia challenge, but it is critical we engage with those at the front lines – eye care practitioners – to ensure they have the understanding and tools to protect our children’s futures,” Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) CEO Yvette Waddell said in the release.
In light of these efforts, the institute, in a separate press release, called attention to a recent study where Naidoo and colleagues found that older people with myopia who live in rural areas of less developed countries are less likely to have adequate optical correction. They estimated that the global potential productivity loss in 2015 associated with vision impairment from uncorrected myopia was $244 billion and from myopia macular degeneration (MMD) was $6 billion.
The researchers identified Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia as having the greatest potential burden.
“Even without aiming for myopia prevention or control or dealing with MMD, simply improving spectacle correction rates for people with myopia is estimated potentially to gain $244 billion in productivity annually for a $20 billion investment,” the researchers stated in the study.
Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of myopia at BHVI, said in a press release from the institute that “high-density urban living with a focus on near-based activities” resulted in the myopia burden in East Asia.
“Peak international eye care and health agencies, governments and international nongovernmental organizations are working collaboratively to build the sustainable eye care systems that would address this need,” Sankaridurg said in the release. “This research demonstrates a need for funding to be either prioritized or sourced to allow the successful implementation of these efforts.”
SightGlass Vision, a company developing a spectacle lens to control myopia, announced in a press release that in support of Myopia Awareness Week it will donate eyeglasses to children in need in the U.S. and Canada. The company will distribute 40 pairs of standard frames and spectacle lenses each to 15 participating sites.
Naidoo KS, et al. Ophthalmology. 2019;doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.10.029.
Disclosures: Sankaridurg is employed by the BHVI. The study was supported with funding from BHVI and the Vision Impact Institute.