The Amazing Paradox Of Vision

This is, for me, one of the greatest paradoxes of the present century:  Our lives are invaded by screens of all types (smartphones, tablets, PC’s). Good vision is a major priority for survival in this interconnected world. Yet, while 80 % of vision problems are preventable, it is completely underestimated by most. Is it lack of interest, ignorance, or refusal to see reality?

Unfortunately, vision health is a luxury that much of the world is not privy to. 60% of the world’s population or 4.2 billion people have poor eyesight. Even worse, only 1.7 billion of those have their vision corrected. Meanwhile, a staggering 2.5 billion people are unable to see properly.

The first paradox is that this massive global emergency is so underrated within the world health community. While we legislate heavily on issues such as immunization, transmissible disease, obesity, tobacco and alcohol addiction, very little attention is paid to the need for preventative and corrective vision health.

The second paradox is the lack of knowledge that exists concerning vision health. People who do not see well are usually not aware that they have a problem. Worse, those who do know are not necessarily corrected. Thus, 22% of driving adults do not wear corrective lenses when they should be. Studies show that 50% of people who have been diagnosed with poor vision or vision that requires correction do nothing about it.

The third paradox is how little is done to raise awareness about vision health and correction when it is so closely associated with cost and productivity in the workplace. Employers have not yet realized the importance of good vision for their employees. A study conducted in the United States found that 50 % of companies offer supplementary dental health plans to their employees while only 21% do the same for the vision. In Germany, medical eye exams are included during vocational interviews. It’s no surprise that it is also a country whose product quality is recognized.

The fourth and final paradox is the lack of government interest in researching the effects of uncorrected vision and eye health. Poor vision is not treated as a public health problem despite the fact that it effects so much of the population and there exists tangible solutions. They are simple, accessible and should be open to all.

Jean-Félix Biosse-Duplan

President of the Vision Impact Institute.