Study on impact and burden of blindness
A health economic study analysing the impact and burden of blindness and the most prevalent eye diseases (diabetic retinopathy, wet AMD, cataract, glaucoma) in Ireland.
- 75% to 80% of blindness is preventable (1)
- Ageing population: As the Irish population ages, the impact of vision loss will grow substantially in the future
- More than 220,000 people in Ireland are blind or vision impaired (1)
- Blindness affects 13,845 individuals in Ireland
- 123 million workdays are lost per year in Europe, and 2.1 million healthy days are lost per annum in Ireland (2)
- 5 people per week became blind in Ireland between 2010 and 2013 – approximately 260 per annum (2)
- €.2.5billion:Vision impairment and blindness is expected to cost more than €.2.5billion by 2020 (1)
- Healthcare costs for the main eye diseases are €65.1 million and for blindness €3.7million per year
- €205 million: The financial cost to the departments of health, social protection and finance was €205 million in 2010 (3)
The economic cost of blindness and vision impairment (3)
- Productivity losses = 20%
- Health costs = 42%
- Informal costs =38%
- Informal care: Day-to-day care for blind people, e.g. by relatives or friends.
- Health costs: Healthcare systems costs e.g. hospitalisation, GPs, medical services, medications, research. Productivity losses: From reduced employment.
- Economic cost = healthcare cost + productivity costs + informal care.
By investing in these cost-effective interventions some types of vision loss may be avoided.
- Screening for diabetic retinopathy and access to treatment, if treatment is required
- Treatment with anti-VEGF for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Screening for cataracts and access to surgery when needed
- Cost effective interventions can reduce economic costs by up to €76 million
The National Vision Coalition is an alliance of healthcare professionals, those working in the sight loss community, and, most importantly, service users: NCBI (Chair); Fighting Blindness (Chair); Irish College of Ophthalmologists; Association of Optometrists Ireland; Diabetes Ireland; Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind;ChildVision; Mark Cahill, RVEEH; Dr Maureen Hillery, HSE; David Keegan, Mater Hospital; Gerry Kerr, Service User Representative; and Irene Reid, National Rehabilitation Hospital.
All data is from The Economic Cost and Burden of Eye Diseases and Preventable Blindness in Ireland, with the exception of the following references:
(1) Framework to Adopt a Strategic Approach for Vision Health in Ireland (Nov 2012).
(2) The Cost of Preventable Blindness
(3) The Cost of Sight Loss (May 2011)