Recent estimates show that more that 700 million people in the world are currently unable to see clearly because they don't have access to corrective eyeware or eye care practitioners. Their poor vision leads to an inability to work and learn, which then limits their productivity. The reduced contribution towards the economy of just those with distance vision problems (22.5% of the 700 million) has an estimated price tag of ₤141.6 billion every year.
The cost to fix this issue would be drastically less, by comparison. Nearly 50,000 eye care providers would need to be trained, as well as 18,00 optical dispensers. The cost of their training, construction of facilities, plus five years worth of operational funding would only cost ₤19.6 billion.
"Spending ₤19.6 billion to train eye care personnel, establish infrastructure and provide spectacles, is a drop in the ocean compared with the annual cost to the global economy," says co-author of the study Professor Brien Holden, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute. "By restoring people's vision, we're generating massive economic benefits for society — it's as simple as that."
This information was gathered by the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia and South African, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University in the US, and was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.