Essilor, an international producer of ophthalmic optics, launched an organization dedicated to socio-economic-related vision issues: the Vision Impact Institute. Today’s most widespread disability, impaired vision, affects 4.2 billion people throughout the world, of whom 2.5 billion have no access to corrective measures.
In its quest to achieve better vision for all, the Vision Impact Institute will act as a global connector of knowledge, data and solutions. The Institute’s mission is to raise awareness about the socio-economic impact of poor vision and to foster research where needed, encouraging measures in the field of corrective vision. It will work to ensure that poor vision and the economic implications emerge as a global challenge.
This public health issue has substantial economic consequences at both an individual and collective level: $269 billion in productivity is reportedly lost every year because of impaired vision, even though all the required solutions (eye exams, corrections) are available.
The underestimated economic impact of impaired vision
While one of the most widespread disabilities in the world, impaired vision and its cost are still underestimated in developed and emerging countries: 30 percent of young people in the world under the age of 18 reportedly suffer from uncorrected refractive error, which is often not diagnosed due to lack of awareness or access to care. This proportion rises to 33 percent in the labor force, 37 percent among elderly people and 23 percent among motorists.
The economic impact is significant globally: around $269 billion in productivity is reportedly lost every year, including $50 billion in Europe, $7 billion in Japan, and $22 billion in the United States–even though there are solutions to correct most of these impaired vision cases.
The annual global cost of productivity loss corresponds to providing an eye exam for half of the current world population. Thus, simple measures might drastically reduce the economic consequences of impaired vision and also the social ones, even though the cost, level o f access to care, and awareness differs by country.
Some 28.9% of consumers at optical shops operated by independent ECPs choose lenses with A/R coating, according to The Vision Council‘s VisionWatch March 2012 Member Benefit Report. Some 15.7% chose photochromatic lenses.
In Japan, AR usage is greater than 95%. The key is the doctor. How important is A/R to you for your patients? If the doctor will prescribe it in the exam room, the majority of patients will get it in the optical (remember that every lens in your phoropter is an A/R lens).
A key fact you need to know is that the re-purchase rate for A/R is 95%. This shows deep acceptance by patients once they have experienced A/R.
Your ACTION PLAN for today is to review your A/R numbers. You’ll find them on your optical laboratory Rx Mix Analysis report. If your practice is a typical practice and is not above 80% A/R, then your practice needs to make some changes to improve your numbers. Implement these three ACTIONS:
1) Have the doctor prescribe A/R in the exam room.
2) Have the optical staff demonstrate A/R to the patient.
3) Bundle A/R with your lenses.
There are too few ophthalmologists in both developing and developed countries, although the projections are better for developed countries, still the number isn’t increasing as fast as the population of patients aged 60 years or older would require who will be seeking ophthalmology care. From an article published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology and conducted by the International Health and Development in Geneva, the problem is that the demographic changes are not well matched by professional development.
According to the survey sent to 213 specialist ophthalmic societies located in 193 countries, there are a total of 204,909 ophthalmologists worldwide. The increased need is partly a reflection of the aging population and increased incidence in diabetes.
50% of all ophthalmologists around the world were located in China, U.S, Russia, Japan, Brazil, and India. 48 (66%) of the countries reported an increase, 5 (6.8%) reported a decrease, and 20 (27%) reported a constancy. The majority or 131 of the surveyed countries had a combined total of less than 5% of the global total of ophthalmologists. There were less than 1 ophthalmologist per million population in 23 countries, and from 1 to 4 ophthalmologists per million population in 30 countries. The average number varied according to the level of economic development, and ranged from an average of 9 per million in low-income countries to an average of 79 per million in high-income countries.
The lowest average number was in Sub-Saharan Africa (average of 2.7 per million) and the highest were in the former socialist economies (average of 83.8 per million). Only 18 countries had more than 100 ophthalmologists per million of the population.