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HomeminewsAU$20 Billion Investment Would Resolve Vision Problems

AU$20 Billion Investment Would Resolve Vision Problems

A total investment of around AU$20 billion over the next 30 years would eliminate uncorrected poor vision by 2050,1 according to a report released by EssilorLuxottica.

The report,2 Eliminating poor vision in a Generation: What will it take to eliminate uncorrected refractive errors by 2050?, outlines an evidencebased plan to eliminate refractive errors by 2050. Using analytical support provided by McKinsey & Company, the objective is to accelerate the identification of possible solutions, mobilise both public and private stakeholders, and inspire widespread systems change.

The report findings suggest that uncorrected poor vision can be eliminated by 2050 through an investment of $20 billion over the next 30 years

Uncorrected poor vision3 is the world’s largest disability, overwhelmingly impacting the developing world. It affects 2.7 billion4 people across the globe, 90% of whom live at the economic base of the pyramid. According to the report, uncorrected poor vision costs the global economy approximately $400 billion in lost productivity each year.

Furthermore, by 2050, uncorrected poor vision is predicted to reach epidemic proportions with over 50% of the world’s population expected to suffer from myopia, many with serious vision-threatening side effects and drastic long-term implications.

ELIMINATION POSSIBLE BY 2050

The report findings suggest that uncorrected poor vision can be eliminated by 2050 through an investment of $20 billion over the next 30 years, dedicated to creating sustainable access points to eye care, innovating for affordable solutions, funding subsidised and free services, and raising awareness.

Hubert Sagnières, Executive Vice-Chairman of EssilorLuxottica and Chairman of Essilor International said, “As the world leader in ophthalmic optics, and a firm believer in business as a force for good, our ambition is to eliminate poor vision within one generation. While there have been many successful initiatives by both public and private actors in recent years, there is clearly a need to do more to bring good vision to everyone. At the same time, there is simply no blueprint to achieve our ambition. This report will provide the necessary guidance while engaging the different stakeholders towards one goal. It illustrates our endeavour to take our efforts further by investigating this vision crisis and uncovering how to solve it. Governments, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organisations, donors, eye care professionals and the private sector all have a role to play as we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end a public health crisis.”

The report proposes the following investments to eliminate uncorrected poor vision by 2050:

  • $3.5b to create one million new sustainable access points which will equip 90% of the population in need. Of these, 600,000 access points need to offer full refraction services,
  • $1.0b for innovation to accelerate development of low-cost, digital or automated screening tools that require less operator training. This would significantly accelerate the scale-up of digitisation of existing and new efforts,
  • $6.6b to increase awareness of poor vision and its socio-economic impact at an individual and societal level. This would drive demand for glasses and the uptake of services, and drive investment in new and existing services, and
  • $9.1b to fill funding gaps across affordability and access for people unable to pay for services. 50% of wearers in need of subsidised or free services would be served, through specialist schemes and programs, by sustainable access points.

Essilor, in partnership with the social enterprise and media platform Devex, used key findings from the report as a starting point for discussions with representatives from non-governmental organisations, health communities, multilateral agencies and international bodies on the sidelines of 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

References 

  1. Supported by research from McKinsey & Company. 
  2. Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation: What will it take to eliminate uncorrected refractive errors by 2050? 2019. www. essilorseechange.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Essilorelimination- in-a-generation-report.pdf 
  3. ‘Poor vision’ is defined as refractive errors (RE) and ‘uncorrected poor vision’ as uncorrected refractive errors (URE). 
  4. McKinsey & Company estimates the number of people suffering from URE in 2018 to be 2.7 billion people (those with a Visual Acuity of 6/9 or worse) while making the case to create a sustainable infrastructure that can service many more. Figures are indicative, not absolute. Refer to ‘Methodology’ section in report for more information.