The Financial Burden of Eye Disease
Thank you to Ellen Troyer.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) estimates that the current annual cost of vision impairment and degenerative eye diseases exceeds $68 billion (yes, that’s a B). And this number doesn’t reflect the impact of lost productivity, diminished quality of life, increased depression and accelerated mortality.
This financial burden is expected to increase dramatically by the year 2020 as the number and proportion of seniors increase. This is significantly impacted by the epidemic of diabetes, specifically diabetic retinopathy.
In public opinion polls, Americans have consistently identified fear of vision loss as second only to fear of cancer. Blindness or low vision currently affects 3.3 million Americans age 40+ and is projected to reach 5.5 million by the year 2020.
The leading causes of blindness or low vision are:
1) Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
3) Diabetic Retinopathy
The fear of losing vision is next to fear of cancer. Given that vision loss is projected to quickly become one of the major health problems in this country, it becomes IMPERATIVE that eye disease researchers and eye care professionals focus on degenerative disease PREVENTION. Patient education that explains the eye health benefits of life style choices that include:
1) Smoking cessation
2) Healthy diet
3) Weight control
4) Dietary supplements
6) Stress reduction
7) Limited alcohol intake
THIS SHOULD BE A MAJOR PART OF EVERY EYE EXAM!!