A new report published in the Lancet Global Health reveals that over 90% of people living with vision loss globally could be treated with existing, highly cost-effective interventions.
The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health is the work of an interdisciplinary group of 73 academics and national programme leaders and practitioners from 25 countries. By looking at global development, economics, healthcare systems, equity and the workforce, the authors argue that improving eye health is essential to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and provides recommendations to improve lives and livelihoods for all.
In 2020, 1.1 billion people were living with untreated impaired vision, and hundreds of millions more are receiving ongoing care for diagnosed conditions, the report finds.
Without additional investment in global eye health, new estimates reveal that 1.8 billion people are expected to be living with untreated vision loss by 2050. Furthermore, 90% live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the greatest proportion occurring in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.The scale of the challenge leads to a large economic cost globally, with analyses indicating that the cost of blindness and moderate to severe vision loss was US$411 billion in 2020.This is despite the fact that there are however existing, highly cost-effective treatments for the vast majority of eye health conditions. In fact, over 90% of people living with vision loss have could be treated either with cataract surgery or simply receiving spectacles. Both interventions are shown in the report to be highly cost-effective in many settings, particularly LMICs.To help achieve immediate and substantial benefits for societies and people living with vision impairment, the expert authors call on governments to include eye health in broader health care planning and financing, harness new technology to improve diagnosis and treatment, and expand the eye health workforce, so that everyone can access high-quality eye care. Only through urgent investment and action can this challenge be addressed.
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