There Is Still So Much To Do!

Given the immensity of the challenges raised by poor vision (4.2 billion people in the world have bad eyesight), a solution may feel daunting or unattainable. But the problem is far simpler to solve than one might imagine.

Here are a few things to consider when approaching a resolution for this global health issue:

1. Begin vision correction and education early. Children have no reference when it comes to good and bad vision. However, studies show a direct correlation between good vision and good reading. Let’s start by educating parents on key indicators of vision health.

2. Do more research on the effect of vision health on students and young adults. Prevention and correction should begin early.

3. Continue to measure the effects and association of poor vision and economic performance. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the cost of lost productivity due to poor vision as about 193 billion euros per year around the world. That includes countries such as France who loses about 8 million per day and 42 million in the United States!

4. For the elderly, 91% of seniors are affected in some way by poor vision. With poor vision, the risk of falls and hip fractures increases nearly sevenfold, causing direct costs. For example, costs due to vision related injuries were € 38 million in France and 73 million in Germany.

5. Poor vision is also affecting drivers. An Italian study estimated that 59 % of road accidents are due to poor vision.

In general, we are lacking research in emerging countries regarding the affect of poor health on quality of life and economy. The good news is research and preventative vision health doesn’t require additional expenditure when you consider how costs can be reduced from corrected vision. Additionally, resolving bad vision doesn’t require the need for new hospitals. There are simple resolutions to providing corrective care.

These are the challenges we currently face:

– an aging population (in 2050, one in five people will be over 60 years old)

– acceleration of myopia (80% of Chinese college students are myopic)

– the cost of health care in developing countries will increase significantly

– doubling car fleet in the next twenty years

How do we meet these challenges?

Let’s start by developing better training for eye care professionals, collecting more studies on the effects of poor vision in order to raise awareness and identify laws that restrict access to preventative care such as the French Act of 5 June 1944 which prohibits opticians from practicing outside their store. Nonsense!

Jean-Félix Biosse Duplan

President of The Vision Impact Institute