Ellen Troyer of Biosyntrx wrote an eye-boggling Pearl, in one of her weekly newsletters. Every single one of us has the power to turn this around. Every single one of us can donate old eyeglasses, participate in Vision Walk, World Sight Day, Give Back Programs, InfantSee, Homeless,
“Never doubt the power of small groups to change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Prevent Blindness America released a report estimating that the costs associated with adult vision problems in the United States now exceeds $51.4 billion a year. This report provides both the costs to the individual and their caregivers, and the impact on the U.S. economy of vision conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetic retinopathy, primary open-angle glaucoma, refractive error, visual impairment and blindness.
This report has been a concerted effort by Prevent Blindness America to address the critical need for better eye health and to ensure that sufficient governmental resources are dedicated to the research, treatment and prevention of eye-related diseases.
Two groups of health economists collaborated to produce the comprehensive report. A team led by David Rein, Ph.D., of RTI International and the CDC researched the costs to the U.S. economy and determined the impact to be $35.4 billion. Kevin Frick, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his team estimated the financial impact to the individual, caregivers and others at $16 billion. The total financial impact is $51.4 billion, which exceeds the total combined profits of the top two 2006 Fortune 500 companies, Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart Stores.
“As the baby boomer generation is aging, my research shows that the number of people in the United States with impaired vision — including blindness — could increase by at least 60 percent over the next three decades,” said Dr. Frick. “It is a troubling reality that an increasing number of Americans are going to be faced with escalating costs due to vision loss, unless we focus on prevention.”
Pearl: Impact to the U.S. economy was determined through analysis of direct medical costs, other direct costs, such as nursing home care and government programs, and lost productivity. Costs to the individual include medical care expenditures, informal care costs and health utility loss. Health utility loss refers to an evaluation of the quality of life in chronic medical conditions.
The future of our nation as a world leader is at risk. This major threat comes not only from hostile countries or organized terrorists; it comes from us. By making uninformed choices regarding diet and nutritional status and exercise, our physical and mental health is rapidly deteriorating, including the health of our eyes.
A sick and mentally incompetent America cannot continue to supply the kind of political, economic, and technological world leadership that has been such a boon to mankind for more than half a century. The solution to this problem is to to teach people how to prevent disease and maintain health. Government and industry sponsored health education, using cutting-edge technology, can help put the responsibility for most degenerative disease where it belongs – with the individual.
Thank you Ellen Troyer, (Biosyntrx) for writing such a thought provoking article.