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    Vision-related diseases in U.S. costing $139 billion a year

    Washington, DC—Vision-related diseases are costing patients, insurance companies, and the U.S. government more than ever. According to the new report commissioned by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) from researchers at the University of Chicago, vision diseases are among the costliest health problems to the U.S. economy.

    In the report entitled, “Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States,” vision-related diseases are expected to be a cost burden to the U.S. economy at a toll of $139 billion per year, far greater than indicated in earlier reports. The report added that the financial burden would continue to grow because of increasing health-care costs and an aging population. Eye-related diseases are more costly than three of the top seven major chronic diseases in the United States today.

    The report was presented June 18 at the 2nd annual PBA “Focus on Eye Health National Summit” in Washington, DC.

    Highlights from the report include:

    • A breakdown of estimated costs of eye disorders and vision loss from the perspective of three payers: government ($47.4 billion), private insurance ($20.8 billion in direct medical costs and $1.3 billion for long-term care), and patients and their families ($71.6 billion).

    • An economic burden breakdown of vision-related disease by state and age.

    • Estimates of costs associated with vision loss on disability and quality of life.

    “We feel that we now have a true estimate of the current and growing costs of eye disease in this country,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of PBA. “Armed with that information, we can address the need for increased prevention, research, and health-care options. It is important that people understand that eye disease is among the most expensive conditions in our country, with [more than] half the cost currently being assumed by aging patients and their families.”

    For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times eReport, click here.


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