Global economic productivity losses from vision impairment and blindness

Marques, Ana P. and Ramke, Jacqueline and Cairns, John and Butt, Thomas and Zhang, Justine H. and Muirhead, Debbie and Jones, Iain and Ah Tong, Brandon A. M. and Swenor, Bonnielin K. and Faal, Hannah B. and Bourne, Rupert R. A. and Frick, Kevin and Burton, Matthew J. (2021) Global economic productivity losses from vision impairment and blindness. EClinicalMedicine, 35. p. 100852. ISSN 2589-5370

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Background: In the absence of accessible, good quality eye health services and inclusive environments, vision loss can impact individuals, households and communities in many ways, including through increased poverty, reduced quality of life and reduced employment. We aimed to estimate the annual potential productivity losses associated with reduced employment due to blindness and moderate and severe vision impairment (MSVI) at a regional and global level. Methods: We constructed a model using the most recent economic, demographic (2018) and prevalence (2020) data. Calculations were limited to the working age population (15–64 years) and presented in 2018 US Dollars purchasing power parity (ppp). Two separate models, using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI), were calculated to maximise comparability with previous estimates. Findings: We found that 160.7 million people with MSVI or blindness were within the working age and estimated that the overall relative reduction in employment by people with vision loss was 30.2%. Globally, using GDP we estimated that the annual cost of potential productivity losses of MSVI and blindness was $410.7 billion ppp (range $322.1 - $518.7 billion), or 0.3% of GDP. Using GNI, overall productivity losses were estimated at $408.5 billion ppp (range $320.4 - $515.9 billion), 0.5% lower than estimates using GDP. Interpretation: These findings support the view that blindness and MSVI are associated with a large economic impact worldwide. Reducing and preventing vision loss and developing and implementing strategies to help visually impaired people to find and keep employment may result in significant productivity gains.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2021 16:02
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 16:10

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