The Fred Hollows Foundation has released a report by a public health specialist debunking some of the myths surrounding avoidable blindness and its effect on people’s lives.

Dr Kate Taylor compiled the report using some of the most recent research into the links between blindness and poverty and the effects of sight-saving interventions on impoverished communities.

The report addresses some of the fallacies about the value of restoring sight. It highlights the positive impact that ending blindness has, in instantly unlocking human potential and improving someone’s living standards. It addresses the incorrect assumptions that development assistance should not be spent on treating blindness and poor sight.

People living in poverty are more likely to suffer vision loss and when they do, it reduces their productivity and earnings, while imposing higher health costs.

The global macroeconomic impact of lost productivity caused by vision loss is estimated at US$84 billion (A$90.7 billion) annually.

In contrast, the economic benefits of treating blindness in the developing world have been shown to be four times the cost, making cataract surgery one of the most cost effective interventions in health.

This report draws on peer-reviewed publications about the effects of treating people with avoidable blindness, as well as reports published by USAID, the World Health Organisation, and The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Download the full report here.