Guidelines help to measure burden

March 15, 2010

There is no shortage of studies to measure the costs of visual impairment, but because the studies use a variety of approaches to analyze data, it has been difficult to draw conclusions.

There is no shortage of studies that measure the costs of visual impairment, to individuals and to specific countries.

In 2007, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness convened a workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia to develop consensus on best practices for measuring the burden of vision loss.

"When estimates of the cost of visual impairment vary over time or across countries," explained lead author Kevin Frick, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University, "policy makers are left to ponder whether one estimate differs from another because of changes in the population, changes in the impact of the disease, or changes in the methods. Researchers can help policy makers by removing one of the potential variables: changes in methods."

Co-author Steven Kymes, PhD, from Washington University in St. Louis, added: "Higher-quality studies using a methodology that consistently follows guidelines will help decision makers and advocates in the ophthalmology community to [understand better] the magnitude of the impact of visual impairment, how it is likely to change with demographic changes and no additional interventions, and how additional interventions can change the impact over time."