Article Date: 5/1/2007

Untitled Document

Practice Pulse

Vision Problems Cost the U.S. $51.4 Billion
The cost of adults with sight-threatening problems and blindness in the United States is $51.4 billion, estimates a new report, “The Annual Economic Burden of Adult Vision Problems in the U.S.”
The report, published by Prevent Blindness America in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyzes the impact of such vision conditions as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetic retinopathy, primary open-angle glaucoma and refractive error. It’s the first report to project the cost to both the individual and the U.S. economy.
In the report, the economic impact was determined as the total of direct medical costs and other costs, including nursing home care, government programs and lost productivity, which concerns the reduced labor force and lower earnings. Outpatient and pharmaceutical services comprise the majority of direct medical costs. Individual and caregiver costs include medical expenditures, informal care costs and health utility loss, which measures the quality of life in patients with chronic medical conditions.
The report combines the results of the CDC and Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International, a research organization, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The CDC/RTI report calculated the total impact of vision problems at $35.4 billion. The Johns Hopkins portion estimated the cost of visual impairment and blindness at $16 billion. The report doesn’t account for the impact of recent advances in therapies and policy plans, such as prescription drug coverage. For more information, visit

Optometric Management, Issue: May 2007