Global Productivity Losses Due to Avoidable Sight Loss

Over 1.1 billion people worldwide suffer from sight loss, with 90% of cases being avoidable or treatable, stemming from issues like untreated refractive errors, unoperated cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. To assess the global economic impact of avoidable sight loss, this report analyzed the portion of global productivity losses attributed to such causes, focusing on adults aged 50-65. Their analysis relied on the Eckert model, which was updated with data from various sources and GNI per capita information. The findings indicate that approximately $411 billion (USD) is lost annually due to avoidable sight loss. It is however important to note that these figures are likely conservative for several reasons. The model only includes adults aged 50-60, leaving out younger working adults who may also experience avoidable sight loss. The research employs lower-end estimates for accuracy, which means actual economic implications could be much higher. The substantial economic benefits of prioritizing eye care is highlighted. By addressing avoidable sight loss, particularly untreated refractive errors and unoperated cataracts, countries have the opportunity to reclaim a significant portion of lost productivity. With over a billion affected by sight loss, investing in eye care becomes not just a health prerogative but an economic imperative.

Publication date

October 1, 2023


IAPB Vision Atlas

Sponsor Institution

The International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)


Kristen A Eckert, Alexander Morgret, Anthea M Burnett, Jude Stern, Van C. Lansingh and Kevin D. Frick. G
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