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Seva Foundation releases groundbreaking study showing that investments in Eye Health yield a 36:1 return

Published: 06.11.2023
Seva study infographic

Findings of New Study Reveal Eye Health Investment Is Unequivocally A ‘Best Buy’ In Global Health and Development with Quantifiable Impacts in Productivity, Learning and Income 

Berkeley, Ca., (November 6, 2023) – The Seva Foundation, a leading innovator in the delivery of vital eye care services, today published a brief, highlighting the findings of a new landmark research study quantifying the economic impact of eye health investments in low- and middle-income countries. The new Eye Health Investment Study presented significant findings, including the fact that investment generates a return on investment (ROI) of 36 to 1, meaning that every $1 invested in cataract or refractive error correction yields an extraordinary $36 in benefits for beneficiaries and society.

This 36:1 rivals and even surpasses comparable ‘best buys’ in global health, but shockingly, eye health receives a mere fraction of funding compared to other health domains such as nutrition and non-communicable diseases. The full study will be published in the December edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the WHO, vision impairment affects a staggering 2.2 billion individuals worldwide, and with a funding gap of $14.3 billion, the need for increased attention and resources has never been more urgent. The research conducted by Seva underscores the critical need of prioritizing eye health on the global agenda and unequivocally positions eye health as a ‘best buy’ for philanthropy, offering an unprecedented return on investment and the potential to transform the lives of millions.

“For too long, eye health has been grossly underfunded and ignored at the global level,” said Kate Moynihan, CEO, Seva Foundation. “Our goal with this new study is to drastically change that dialogue with quantifiable metrics that shed light on what can be expected from cost-effective, corrective interventions. Analyzing impact across areas such as productivity, learning and income gains we’re confident this research can finally bring eye health the attention it deserves.”

Over 40 years ago, the Seva Foundation conducted the world’s first systematic national study to test assumptions and gather evidence to determine the most prevalent causes of blindness. Seva teams visited 105 villages and examined 40,000 people in Nepal, revealing key causes of blindness, including cataracts. This landmark study led to the development of innovative and sustainable solutions that have since transformed the landscape of eye care delivery across the world, providing critical vision-saving interventions to countless individuals.