Vision Loss  /  Economic Burden

More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease, and adult vision loss costs our economy more than billion a year. With major advances in vision research bringing new prevention and treatments, it is critical that support for research and incentives for innovation remain a priority. The Alliance for Aging Research has teamed up with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision, to release Volume II of The Silver Book®:Vision Loss. Volume II brings updated data on vision loss in older Americans, as well as the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment.  

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    • Annual Direct and Indirect Costs of Diabetic Retinopathy
       
    • Expenditures for glaucoma medications are on the rise–mean annual glaucoma medication expenditures per indiviual increased from $445 in 2001 to $557 in 2006.  
    • The average cost in 2004 per glaucoma patient age 40 to 64 using outpatient services was $276.  The average cost per patient 54 years and older was $254.  
    • A study of Medicare beneficiaries with glaucoma showed that health care costs increased with degree of vision loss–ranging from $8,157 per year for no vision loss to $18,670 for blindness.  
    • The annual direct medical costs (including outpatient, inpatient, and prescription drug services) for Americans age 40 and older with diabetic retinopathy is $493 million.  
    • For beneficiaries with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), annual Medicare part B payments for vision care increased from $1,504 per beneficiary in 1994 to $3,263 in 2006–due in large part…  
    • The average cost in 2004 per age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patient age 40 and older using medications and vitamins was $110.  
    • The annual direct medical costs (including outpatient, inpatient, and prescription drug services) for Americans age 40 and older with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is $575 million.  
    • The annual governmental budgetary impact of major adult visual disorders is estimated to be at least $13.7 billion  
    • The average annual salary for adults who are visually impaired is close to $10,000 less than for those with normal vision.  
    • The annual burden to the U.S. economy of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, refractive errors, visual impairment, and blindness in adults age 40 and older is estimated…  
    • Close to $11 billion of the $11.1 billion in direct nonmedical costs for adults with visual disorders goes to nursing home care.  
    • The cost of lost productivity due to dry eye is estimated at more than $5,000 per patient.  
    • Estimated Cost of Reduced Labor Force Participation by People Who are Visually Impaired or Blind  
    • Estimated Direct Nonmedical Costs for People Who Are Visually Impaired or Blind  
    • Annual Total Burden to the U.S. Economy of AMD, Cararact, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Refractive Errors, Visual Impairment and Blindness  
    • Total Annual Economic Impact of Vision Problems in the U.S.  
    • The average direct cost of glaucoma treatment ranges from $623 per year for patients with early-stage glaucoma, to $2,511 per year for end-stage patients. Medication costs make up the largest…  
    • The average cost in 2004 per glaucoma patient age 40 to 64 using medications and vitamins was $806.  
    • The average cost in 2004 per glaucoma patient age 40 to 64 using inpatient services was $2,270. The average cost per patient 65 years and older was $4,929.  
    • The annual direct medical costs (including outpatient, inpatient, and prescription drug services) for Americans age 40 and older with glaucoma is $2.86 billion.  
    • The average cost in 2004 per diabetic retinopathy patient age 40 to 64 using outpatient services was $629. The average cost per patient 65 years and older was $463.  
    • The average cost in 2004 per age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patient age 40 to 64 using outpatient services was $305. The average cost per patient 65 years and older was…  
    • The excess yearly nursing home cost for those with vision loss, beyond the expected cost for those with normal vision, is $450 for those with moderate vision loss, $1,225 for…  
    • Around $62 million a year is spent on guide dogs for individuals 40 years and older with visual impairment (in 2004 dollars).  
    • Medicare beneficiaries with vision loss incur significantly higher costs than individuals with normal vision. Approximately 90% of the higher annual costs are non-eye related medical costs– $2,193 for those with…  
    • Blindness (compared to no visual impairment) is associated with more than $2,000 in excess annual medical expenses per person.  
    • Visual impairment (compared to no visual impairment) is associated with more than $1,000 in excess annual medical expenses per person.  
    • An individual who is visually impaired or blind accumulates nearly $1,479 in vision-related expenses each year– not including health utility or QALY losses. At this rate, after 8 years an…  
    • Visual impairment and blindness cause an annual health utility loss of approximately $10.5 billion. This figure measures lost quality of life when a disease has little or no short-term impact…  
    • The excess economic burden of visual impairment and blindess of individuals age 40 and older on the individual, caregivers, and other health care payers is an estimated $5.48 billion annually–…  
    • Visual impairment and blindness account for $8 billion in lost productivity annually.  
    • The annual cost of adult vision problems in the U.S. is around $51.4 billion.