1. The investment in eye health to prevent sight loss report makes a serious argument and a case about the need for investment in eye health from governments. What are the key questions explored in this report?
This project has three key objectives, which are to:
- Collect data to inform an understanding of expenditure on eye health and eye health/vision outcomes across different countries, with the aim to collaborate with the IAPB to enrich the Vision Atlas
- Contribute to IAPB’s key priorities to raise awareness for eye care, enable data and information sharing, strengthen international collaboration and further educate the public and governments on eye health
- Undertake an assessment of the feasibility of designing a sustainable database to enable ongoing additions and tracking of information across countries, as well as define key messages to support broader coalition building between public and private organisations.
Based on the objectives of this project, the following key research questions were designed and developed in collaboration with eye healthcare subject matter experts:
- What proportion of overall health expenditure in countries is allocated to eye health?
- What are countries’ overall expenditure (per capita) on eye health? (breakdown by public funding, private funding & investment sources, estimated out of pocket funding by individuals & families?)
- What are countries’ breakdown of expenditure and resource utilization on eye health?
- What is the mix of expenditure on preventing and managing eye disease?
- How does expenditure compare to eye health needs in a country?
- What is the relationship between countries’ level of expenditure on eye health and prevention and vision outcomes achieved (e.g., rates of vision impairment and blindness)? What is the level of expenditure that is necessary to achieve good outcomes?
2. Which were the ten countries included in the analysis, and why were they selected?
Canada, the United States (US), Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), India, Nepal (case study), Australia, Japan and Singapore.
In the initial stages of the project, a feasibility scoping task was undertaken from a larger number of countries (18 in total). The above 10 countries were shortlisted.
Countries were shortlisted based on one or more of four criteria:
- Data availability: What data exists to support answering each indicator of the analytical framework?
- Data quality: What is the condition of the data based on its accuracy, completeness, reliability and how recent the data was collected, to inform each indicator of the analytical framework?
- High prevalence of sight loss: Which countries have relatively high prevalence of sight loss?
- Unique eye health system and approach to vision care: What component of that country’s eye health system (and more broadly the health system) and approach to vision care can be used as a learning for other countries to improve access to care and outcomes?
3. What drivers of eye health needs are considered in this report? Could you state some findings that particularly stood out in the analysis?
There is significant variation in the structure and focus of eye health systems worldwide. This study has identified four key areas of the eye health system that require sustained and growing investment and can have a substantial impact on the eye care and eye health outcomes. They include:
- Information: Reporting of comprehensive eye health data
- Leadership: Creation of a national plan applying to eye health
- Workforce: Adequate supply of eye care professionals to meet population need
- Services: Focus on preventative eye care
4. How have you defined eye health expenditure in the report and what should we know about the report’s findings on eye health expenditure among the countries studied?
The definition of expenditure used in this report is the final consumption of health care goods and services, including personal health care (curative care, rehabilitative care, long-term care, ancillary services and medical good) and collective services (prevention and public health services as well as health administration), but excludes spending on investments. This definition is consistent with the definition used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Data availability across countries is variable and there is a need for greater investment in eye care to address the growing burden.