The results of a new report commissioned by Prevent Blindness America have revealed that vision problems and eye disorders in the United States are much more costly than originally thought. The report, “Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States”, shows that the nation is spending an astounding $139 billion on eye and vision related conditions a year, as Review of Optometry noted.
The new study features revised methodology from a similar report conducted by Prevent Blindness America in 2007, and offers a comprehensive look at the economics of vision issues. It also covers data from an age spectrum, which for the first time ever, includes children.
According to the report, children ages 0 to 17 accounted for the least amount of money spent on vision issues, at $5.73 billion. Adults age 65 and over were the most costly group, totaling for $77.28 billion. Those ranging from 18 to 39 years of age accounted for $22.16 billion spent on vision issues, slightly more than the cost estimates for the same demographic in 2012. Adults from age 40 to 64 accounted for $39 billion spent on vision issues.
The report also breaks down medical costs by specific eye and vision-related disorders. As seen in the chart below, refractive errors are the most costly, with $16.1 billion spent on those disorders. Glaucoma was the least costly of specified disorders, with $5.8 spent on the disease.
Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, shared with Review of Optometry, “We feel that we now have a true estimate of the current and growing costs of eye disease in this country. Armed with that information, we can address the need for increased prevention, research and health care options.”
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