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This Eye Problem Costs the Global Economy $244B a Year, According to a Study

The costs stem from lost productivity.

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Vision impairment caused by uncorrected myopia cost the global economy an estimated $244 billion in lost productivity in 2015, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Ophthalmology.

The research estimated that 538 million people had vision impairment resulting from uncorrected myopia, with the East Asia region, which includes China, bearing the greatest burden of productivity loss of around $150 billion. The South Asia and South East Asia regions also experienced significant productivity loss at over $30 billion each. This represents more than 1% of GDP in each of the three regions.

The authors say a one-off investment of around $20 billion would establish the services necessary to provide vision correction to all who need it, potentially leading to a significant annual saving in productivity.

Co–author Tim Fricke, from Brien Holden Vision Institute, said, “On current trends we expect there will be 2.6 billion people with myopia globally in 2020. While the majority will have access to corrective lenses such as spectacles and contact lenses, enabling them to have good vision, current service capacity will leave well over half a billion people unable to access an eye examination and appropriate correction. This includes around 54 million people classified as having mild vision impairment, who, although not formally recognised as being vision impaired, still experience a loss of utility, albeit relatively small, which is accounted for in this study.

“The impact of vision impairment on lives can be substantial, including affecting employment, education and social interaction. This study captures one element of that, demonstrating the scale of the economic burden. For a single health condition to result in a loss of over 1% of GDP is enormously important. The findings also serve to highlight the potential value in funding the interventions needed to eliminate this unnecessary impairment.”

A combination of factors explains the substantial burden in East Asia, said Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of myopia at Brien Holden Vision Institute.

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“The high-density urban living with a focus on near based activities has resulted in high prevalence and also in a large number of people with inadequate visual correction,” Sankaridurg said.

Along with East Asia, other regions significantly impacted are South Asia and Southeast Asia, both estimated to suffer productivity loss of over $30 billion in 2015. The researchers conclude that people with myopia are “less likely to have adequate optical correction if they are older and live in a rural area of a less developed country.”

“Peak international eye care and health agencies, governments and international NGOs are working collaboratively to build the sustainable eye care systems that would address this need,” said Sankaridurg. “This research demonstrates a need for funding to be either prioritised or sourced, to allow the successful implementation of these efforts.”

The researchers note that lost productivity resulting from myopia-related vision impairment represents only part of the overall economic burden of myopia. Direct costs such as expenses related to eye examinations, refractive corrections and managing pathological consequences of myopia such as MMD, and related opportunity costs, are not covered in their analysis.

“Even without considering these other costs our analysis shows that the burden is substantial and the savings by implementing the services needed would be significant,” Sankaridurg said.

The study, “Potential Lost Productivity Resulting from the Global Burden of Myopia: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis and Modelling,” was conducted by researchers from Brien Holden Vision Institute, University of New South Wales (Australia), African Vision Research Institute, University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa) and Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University. It was supported with funding from Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Vision Impact Institute.

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Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Burglary at Optometry Office Is Seventh in 2 Months

The front door lock was broken.

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The burglary of an optometry office in San Diego County, CA, marks the seventh such crime in the region since July.

The latest break-in occurred at an office in Mira Mesa, NBC 7 San Diego reports. The article doesn’t identify the practice, but in an accompanying photo, the sign says “Dr. Satnick.”

Police were called to the scene overnight Wednesday. It wasn’t clear right away how much merchandise was stolen.

The Times of San Diego reports that the front door lock was broken.

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Authorities haven’t said whether the burglary might be connected to six other recent incidents, NBC 7 San Diego reports. No arrests have been made.

In August, burglars hit three optometry offices in San Diego County in a three-hour period.

Read more at NBC 7 San Diego

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10-Location Eyecare Group Is First to Join Medical Optometry America

The group has 29 optometrists.

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BLUE BELL, PA, and ASHBURN, VA — Medical Optometry America has signed an agreement with Associates in Eyecare – Optometrists, which will become first group of independent optometric practices to adopt the Medical Optometry America.

Associates in Eyecare – Optometrists has 29 optometrist working in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, areas.

“Many of us have known for some time that medical eye care is the future of our profession” said Robert Allen, OD, who serves as CEO of AIE, “and the state-of-the-art MOA System will allow our practices, and thousands more around the country, to accelerate this necessary advancement.”

Ken Krieg, CEO of Medical Optometry America, said, “MOA will provide independent optometrists the ability to participate in building a brand and practice management system that stands for exceptional medical eye care and inspires consumer confidence and demand for those services. In addition, optometry practices that choose to remain independent will now have viable marketing muscle to stay competitive in a fast-changing market.”

The foundation of the Medical Optometry System “is the creation of an education platform that facilitates the adoption of best practice protocols,” according to a press release.

Allen added, “We’re excited to be the flagship practice for MOA. No doubt the total MOA System will position us for the future and enable us to lead the transformation of our profession.”

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Vision Care Company to Add 8 Centers Across US

The practices are in California, Florida, Michigan and Texas.

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Treehouse Eyes, a company specializing in myopia care for children, has added 8 location in four states.

The practices are in California, Florida, Michigan and Texas, Healio.com reports.

The company’s original two locations are located in the Washington, DC-area communities of Bethesda and Tysons Corner, according to its website.

Healio.com quoted Gary Gerber, OD, co-founder of the company, saying, “By partnering with carefully vetted practices that meet certain predetermined requirements, we will rapidly accelerate myopia management within those practices and will continue our growth across the country and are currently lining up partners outside the U.S.”

Gerber said 20 more practices will be added to the U.S. network in 2020.

Read more at the Healio.com

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