Ending avoidable blindness in the developing world could cost as little as US$2.20 per person per year, according to a groundbreaking Australian report into its devastating global economic impact.

The final instalment of the Investing In Vision series of reports from PwC - commissioned by The Fred Hollows Foundation – is being released today ahead of World Sight Day on Thursday, October 9.

The document - the world’s first global cost-benefit analysis of eliminating avoidable blindness – provides a snapshot of the problem and calculates the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impartment around the world.

 The report shows:

·       An estimated 32.4 million people are blind around the world;

·       2 in 3 blindness cases are preventable or treatable;

·       Collectively this costs developing countries around $49 billion every year;

·       It would cost US$128.2 billion (or US$2.20 per person) in addition to what is already spent on           eye health to restore sight to people needing help today and treat new cases; and

·       Ending avoidable blindness could inject as much as US$517 billion into the poorest                     economies over a decade.

The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan said the report showed ending avoidable blindness was an achievable goal that also provided a strong return on investment.

“World Sight Day on Thursday is a good reminder of how much more we need to do to help people who don’t need to be blind,” he said.

“Around 90 per cent of people who are blind or visually impaired live in developing countries where the loss of sight can be especially devastating. It takes away a person’s independence and is a huge economic drain on their families and their communities.

“The Fred Hollows Foundation has so far helped restore sight to around two million people and we’ve seen the immediate benefits restoring eyesight can bring.

“We hope this landmark study shows how we can all continue to work together to end avoidable blindness.”

Download Investing in Vision: The Costs & Benefits of Ending Avoidable Blindness