The results of a landmark study show the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries outweigh the costs by a factor of four to one.
This means that for every dollar invested in preventing someone from going blind, more than four dollars is returned in economic terms.
This places eliminating avoidable blindness among the most effective interventions available, and can be likened to primary school education and infrastructure projects in terms of broader economic value.
The study Investing in Vision was undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and commissioned by The Fred Hollows Foundation and other key eye care NGOs.
The reports from this study form a pioneering piece of work. Using the most recent data available, they bring together, for the first time, the health, economic and social benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and vision impairment on a global scale. The reports highlight the fact that investments are both cost-effective and sustainable; providing further evidence that eliminating avoidable blindness is among the genuinely unpicked low-lying fruit of development policy.
Currently there are around 32.4 million people who are blind and another 191 million who are visually impaired. Other key findings include:
Avoidable blindness occurs all over the world, but by far the greatest burden is carried by developing countries.
In developing countries, an additional investment of only US$2.20 per capita per year for 10 years is required to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
The report represents an important partnership between PwC and The Fred Hollows Foundation, bringing together the expertise of two leading international bodies from the private and not-for-profit sectors.