Avoidable sight loss costs Indian economy $27 bn per year: Study
The theme this year is "Love Your Eyes at Work," which highlights the significance of eyecare at workplaces
NEW DELHI: Avoidable sight loss would add $27 billion per year to India's economy, according to a global study released on Wednesday, ahead of the World Sight Day.
Held on the second Thursday of October each year, World Sight Day, organised by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is a UN-recognised international event dedicated to draw attention to the global issue of visual impairment.
The theme this year is "Love Your Eyes at Work," which highlights the significance of eyecare at workplaces.
The Indian economy loses more to avoidable sight loss than any other country barring China and the US, according to the research by IAPB, a global alliance of organisations working towards the elimination of avoidable blindness and vision impairment.
As technology transforms the world of work, the future economy will be dominated by service industries and office-based jobs involving the prolonged use of screens. Without proper precautions, this can lead to eye strain and negatively impact eye health. The research, also led by Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins University, US, drew on GNI per capita data from the World Bank.
The data was used to estimate the productivity losses in people aged between 50-65 years with moderate to severe vision impairment and blindness due to uncorrected refractive error, or unoperated cataract. India, with currently 70 million people with visual impairment, had the third-highest potential savings of all countries in the study.
Sight loss costs the global economy $411 billion every year, according to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health. An estimated 30 per cent of people with sight loss experience a reduction in employment, with women, people in rural communities and ethnic minority groups among the groups most affected. However, 90 per cent of sight loss is avoidable with early detection and treatment.
Preventing sight loss with early detection and treatment for eye conditions like cataracts and myopia is vital to protect livelihoods and allow businesses to thrive. "Business leaders have played a vital role in raising awareness of workplace wellbeing, from mental health to menopause," said Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB and Love Your Eyes campaign spokesperson, in a statement.
"Whether it's through eye health education, connecting employees with eye health services, adding eye health to insurance plans or adjusting screen settings, there are many ways to build a vision-friendly work environment and create healthier, happier workers." "Nobody should experience avoidable sight loss, and no business should miss out on the boost that better eye health brings to their bottom line," Holland added.