PURPOSE: We estimated the potential global economic productivity loss resulting from vision impairment (VI) and blindness as a result of uncorrected myopia and myopic macular degeneration (MMD) in 2015.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Understanding the economic burden of VI associated with myopia is critical to addressing myopia as an increasingly prevalent public health problem.
METHODS: We estimated the number of people with myopia and MMD corresponding to critical visual acuity thresholds. Spectacle correction coverage was analyzed against country-level variables from the year of data collection; variation in spectacle correction was described best by a model based on a human development index, with adjustments for urbanization and age. Spectacle correction and myopia data were combined to estimate the number of people with each level of VI resulting from uncorrected myopia. We then applied disability weights, labor force participation rates, employment rates, and gross domestic product per capita to estimate the potential productivity lost among individuals with each level and type of VI resulting from myopia in 2015 in United States dollars (US$). An estimate of care-associated productivity loss also was included.
RESULTS: 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. The global potential productivity loss associated with the burden of VI in 2015 was estimated at US$244 billion (95% confidence interval [CI], US$49 billion-US$697 billion) from uncorrected myopia and US$6 billion (95% CI, US$2 billion-US$17 billion) from MMD. Our estimates suggest that the Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia Global Burden of Disease regions bear the greatest potential burden as a proportion of their economic activity, whereas East Asia bears the greatest potential burden in absolute terms.
CONCLUSIONS: Even under conservative assumptions, the potential productivity loss associated with VI and blindness resulting from uncorrected myopia is substantially greater than the cost of correcting myopia.