Sunday, July 21, 2019 | ePaper

Investment into Vision Care

Recovery could stem major economic losses

  • Print


Rebecca Root :
$244 billion is lost from the global economy each year because of problems with eyesight, according to a report led by researchers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute - but it could be rectified by investing $20 billion into better eye care, the authors said.
The report looked specifically at the problem of myopia, or nearsightedness, which affects 538 million people worldwide. The impairment can often be corrected with lenses or surgery but many people - particularly in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia regions - lack access to these services and are unable to work.
"The impact of vision impairment on lives can be substantial, including affecting employment, education, and social interaction," said Tim Fricke, one of the authors of the report in a press release.
Substantial funding could fill the gaps, Fricke said. Investing in the training of eye care practitioners in countries where there is a gap, funding graduate positions in clinics, and developing better infrastructure and human resources could mean more people are able to access treatment, resume work, and contribute to the economy, he said.
"This isn't throwing pairs of glasses out of an airplane and hoping they find the right person. It's about investing in the resources that are needed in order to deliver care on an ongoing and sustainable basis," Fricke explained in an interview with Devex. "You'd hope local governments, civil society, and private industry would invest in those places [with the worst level of vision impairment], but by definition, there's no resources in the places themselves to invest so international donors then become important."  
Lost productivity resulting from myopia-related vision impairment represents only part of the overall economic burden of vision impairment. Other vision issues - astigmatisms and far-sightedness - that can affect a person's ability to work and expenses related to eye examinations were not covered in the analysis.
Matthew Wheeler, vice president of strategy and communications at SEE International - a humanitarian organization providing medical, surgical, and educational services to restore sight and prevent blindness worldwide - said in an interview that while $20 billion was a large amount, it was a modest investment compared to what individuals could get back in increased productivity and quality of life.
"However, you need a broad base of support because it is a lot to ask for," he added.
Without the increased investment - which Wheeler said he was hopeful would come via individuals, private foundations, and corporations - tens of millions of people will be unnecessarily blind, he said.
"With the growing global population that's getting older, and population booms, the longer we wait to address the need, it's just going to grow and grow and we're going to get that much further behind," he said.
He called for the investment - if it were to come through - to also focus on training and capacity building of in-country ophthalmologists, but emphasized that organizations would need to be coordinated in their approach to avoid duplication.
(Rebecca Root is an Editorial Associate and Reporter at Devex).

More News For this Category

Introduce sustainable method to check waterlogging

NOW rainy season is going on. And water-logging is a recurring problem for Dhaka, which the residents of this city are painfully aware of, but the authorities concerned DNCC and

Administrative control over ACC only to happy the corrupts

ANTI-GRAFT campaigner Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concern and extreme disappointment over the government's decision for making Deputy Commissioners as authorised officers to oversee the Anti-Corruption Commission's work

Two Modern Priests

Abdur Rahman :The woe of every generation crucifies their Tiresias first as his prophetic felicity journeys advanced than his generation anticipating the echo of looming wave several centuries ahead brewing

Major Mistakes

Nazrul Islam Bashir :The new edition of Bangladesh Bank history book named `Bangladesh Banker Etihash' was published in March 2019. Three photographs of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Readers’ Forum

Extramarital Affair Is The Cancer Of A SocietyExtramarital affair means making relationship with the married person after having life partner. It can be described in this way that a boy

How people will save themsleves from mosquito bites?

FINANCE Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said he was not going to his office at the Economic Relations Division in the Planning Commission in fear of mosquito bites.

Corruption in WASA crosses all limits

THE Anti Corruption Commission has identified eight projects and three areas in Dhaka WASA where corruption takes place. The State enterprise keeps extending deadlines and increasing the costs of

Espionage Agent

In a major diplomatic and legal victory for India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday directed Pakistan to review his conviction and,

Libya's Warlord

Saleem Samad :A UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting failed to agree on a statement condemning deadly airstrikes on a migrant detention center in northwestern Libya, which was apparently blocked

Risky buildings in Old Dhaka a constant danger

TWO persons, including a 50-year-old father and his 17-year-old son, were killed in a building collapse at Patuatuli in the Old Town of Dhaka on Wednesday. The deceased were banana