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The impact of chronic health problems is hard to put into words, so Prevent Blindness America put it into numbers by measuring the economic burden of vision loss and eye disorders. At a cost of $139 billion in 2013, eye disorders and vision loss are among the costliest health conditions currently facing the United States.
This report serves to update the prior estimate of the economic burden of eye problems released by Prevent Blindness America in 2007, which found the economic burden of eye problems among Americans aged 40 and older to be approximately $51.4 billion in 2004. While this landmark study has served as the benchmark estimate of the economic burden of eye problems in the United States, continued growth in medical costs, newly available data and methodologies, and a consensus for more comprehensive accounting of all costs for all ages have highlighted the need for an updated estimate of the economic burden of eye disorders and vision loss.
In this report, Prevent Blindness employs more current data and updated methodologies to update and expand the previous estimate. It expands the analysis to include children and adults younger than age 40 by incorporating results from CDC-funded research on the economic burden of vision loss and eye disorders in this population. It captures medical costs for all diseases and conditions related to the eye and ocular adnexa. And it includes costs for out-of-pocket and vision-plan paid expenses, such as routine eye examinations and vision correction.