Uncorrected Myopia’s Impact on Productivity
Ophthalmology, March 2019
Naidoo et al. aimed to estimate the loss of productivity associated with the global burden of myopia. They found that, even by conservative estimation, the potential loss in productivity linked to uncorrected myopia outweighs the cost of correction.
For their study, the authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the number of people with myopia and myopic macular degeneration (MMD), stratified by visual acuity thresholds. The percentages of myopes who had spectacle correction were compared with country-level variables for the year of data collection (2015). Variation in spectacle correction was represented by a model based on the human development index, with adjustment for age and urbanization.
The authors combined data for spectacle correction with myopia data, from which they estimated the number of people with each predefined visual-impairment level of uncorrected myopia (from mild myopia to blindness). They applied disability weights, employment rates, labor-force participation rates, and gross domestic product per capita to estimate the degree of productivity loss among individuals with each level and type of myopia-related visual impairment in 2015, expressed in U.S. dollars.
Their analyses showed that adequate correction of myopia is less common for older people who live in rural areas of less-developed countries. In 2015, the estimated global productivity loss associated with visual impairment was $244 billion for uncorrected myopia (95% confidence interval [CI], $49 billion to $697 billion) and $6 billion for MMD (95% CI, $2 billion to $17 billion). The regions with the greatest burden as a proportion of their economic activity were Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The region with the greatest absolute burden was East Asia.
Understanding the economic burden of uncorrected visual impairment is crucial for addressing public health problems such as myopia. The authors emphasized that the productivity effects of myopia should be considered in a broader framework by policymakers. Findings of their study highlight the economic value of interventions.
The original article can be found here.