Skip to content

China, US and India lead global league table of biggest winners from better eye health

Published: 12.10.2023
Love Your Eyes at Work - World Sight Day
  • New research released on World Sight Day reveals the global league table of countries with the biggest potential economic boost from better eye care.
  • Sight loss costs the global economy US$411 billion every year, according to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health.
  • 30% of people with sight loss experience a reduction in employment, at great cost to businesses and individuals. However, 90% of sight loss is avoidable with early detection and treatment.
  • The Love Your Eyes campaign is calling on business leaders around the world to mark World Sight Day by putting eye health on the workplace wellbeing agenda.

China, the US, and India lead the world league table of countries with the biggest potential gains from better eye health, according to new research released this World Sight Day, as the Love Your Eyes campaign calls on business leaders across the world to put eye health on the workplace wellbeing agenda.

The study, conducted by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and Prof. Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins, calculated the productivity costs of avoidable sight loss among people over 50.

Countries with some of the biggest potential productivity gains include China ($96 billion), the United States ($50 billion), India ($27 billion), Japan ($20 billion) and the United Kingdom ($12 billion).

As technology transforms the world of work, the future economy will be dominated by service industries and office-based jobs involving the prolonged use of screens. Without proper precautions, this can lead to eye strain and negatively impact eye health.

An estimated 30% of people with sight loss experience a reduction in employment, with women, people in rural communities and ethnic minority groups among the groups most affected. However, 90% of sight loss is avoidable with early detection and treatment.

Employers have a vital role in promoting awareness of eye health as a crucial element of workplace health and safety that’s both good for people and good for business. Even simple eye care practices like taking screen breaks (the 20-20-20 rule), adjusting screen settings and using proper lighting can make workers more comfortable and protect their eye health long-term.

Another report released last month by IAPB and the International Labor Organization found that more than 13 million people globally live with work-related vision impairment, with 3.5 million eye injuries sustained at work every year.

Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB and Love Your Eyes campaign spokesperson says:

“Business leaders have played a vital role in raising awareness of workplace wellbeing, from mental health to menopause. Today, World Sight Day is an opportunity for employers to add eye health to their well-being agenda and encourage workers to love their eyes.

“Our eyes are central to our ability to earn a living. Sight loss has a profound impact on one’s personal and professional life, with cataracts and simply not having reading glasses among the leading causes of avoidable sight loss. Women, people in rural communities and ethnic minority groups are even more likely to experience sight loss and be excluded from employment and services.

“Whether it’s through eye health education, connecting employees with eye health services, adding eye health to insurance plans or adjusting screen settings, there are many ways to build a vision-friendly work environment and create healthier, happier workers.

“Nobody should experience avoidable sight loss, and no business should miss out on the boost that better eye health brings to their bottom line.”

Marius de Beer, Chief Sustainability Officer of Hoya Vision Care says:

“At HOYA Vision Care, we strongly believe that our values, our mission, and vision should always be reflected in our actions. That is a commitment that goes beyond One Vision, our sustainability platform, it highlights who we are.

“By giving people access to clear vision, we are creating an environment in which there is safety, growth and satisfaction, both in the workplace and at home. This is equally important for our colleagues, our customers and their patients, throughout their entire lifetime. On World Sight Day, we are opening the doors for our experts to create awareness about the importance of healthy vision. On every other day, we use our knowledge and passion for vision care to innovate and create a better tomorrow, today.”

Natalie Roberts, US-based hair stylist and business owner, says:

“As a hairdresser and salon owner, my sight is a central part of my job. Even before I was diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease, my symptoms had begun to impact my work. I was coloring someone’s hair when one of my eyes saw blue, and the other saw red. As a colourist it’s vital to be able to see the difference between different shades of the same colour, so until I had had treatment it massively affected my ability to earn a living for myself.

“I’ve found ways to live with T.E.D, and treatment has reduced my symptoms and helped my vision immensely so I can get back to work. But we all need to take better care of our eyes. And more support in the workplace would make it much easier to do.”