The High Cost Of Low Vision

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views
the condition of AMD is widespread and awareness is low. Approximately 25 – 30 million are affected worldwide by AMD. As the “baby boom” generation ages, the incidence of AMD is expected to triple by the year 2025. AMD cases in the United States exceed cataracts and glaucoma (13 million vs. 12 million and 3 million respectively)

The first every  cost of low visual was released in Vienna, Austria, April 16, 2010. The conclusion is visual impairment is a huge burden on all societies and economies worldwide and it impacts each and every person in the world in many ways.

The High Cost Of Low Vision

  • Nearly $3 trillion dollars ($2,954 billion USD) for the 733 million people living with low vision and blindness worldwide in 2010.
  • Costs are set to rise dramatically through to 2020 unless effective prevention and treatment strategies are adopted worldwide.
  • Current costs include direct health care expenditure, informal caregiver time, lost productivity, and inefficiencies in raising tax revenue to fund health care.
  • MDAI research reports the worldwide cost of visual impairment due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) alone at US$343 billion including US$255 billion direct health care costs.
  • The study also estimated the global health burden of visual impairment using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), the unit of measurement favoured by the WHO. It is reported that worldwide, people with visual impairment will be deprived of the equivalent of 118 million years of healthy life (DALYs) due to disability and premature death in 2010, with AMD the cause of 6 million of these DALYs. The report states that if current trends continue this health burden will rise to 150 million DALYs in 2020.
  • Estimate that 17% of the total worldwide cost is due to lost productivity in people living with disability, to premature death due to visual impairment, and to the value of informal caregiver time. Our results highlight the enormous worldwide costs of vision loss and the need to tackle the causes from a global perspective


  • Frequent screening of people with diabetes, and the elderly who are at higher risk of retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
  • Increased training in cataract surgery for doctors in developing regions;
  • Greater availability of affordable eye wear to correct refractive error;
  • Funding and distribution of medication to treat river blindness and trachoma in affected populations;
  • Early treatment of childhood eye diseases, including cataract and glaucoma.


For further information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
B&K – Bettschart&Kofler, Vienna Dr. Birgit Kofler or Ms. Daniela Pedross, MA
Ph: +43-1-3194378-131 Mobile: +43-676-6368930
E-Mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
About AMD Alliance International and The Access Economics Report
AMD Alliance International is the only international organization in the world dedicated exclusively to promoting awareness, treatment and research into macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in the developed world. We are a membership organization comprised of the worlds’ leading vision, seniors and research organizations from 25 countries.