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As the American population ages, the number of those with eye diseases and vision problems will continue to increase. According to a report released Wednesday by Prevent Blindness, the annual costs related to eye disease will reach more than $384 billion in 2032 and $717 billion in 2050.
Chicago-As the American population ages, the number of those with eye diseases and vision problems will continue to increase. According to a report released Wednesday by Prevent Blindness, the annual costs related to eye disease will reach more than $384 billion in 2032 and $717 billion in 2050.
Statistics from the report ("The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems")-commissioned from researchers at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago-include some noteworthy projections:
· Costs related to eye disease-including government, insurance, and patient costs-are projected to increase 376% by 2050.
· Hispanics are projected to exhibit extremely high growth in diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract cases.
· As the baby-boomer generation ages into the Medicare program, costs will further shift from patients and private insurance to government. By 2050, the government will pay more than 41% of costs, while the burden paid by patients and private insurers will drop to 44% and 16%, respectively.
· Women will continue to outnumber men in prevalence of all eye disease and vision loss categories except for diabetic retinopathy.
· Those aged 90 or more years are projected to be by far the fastest-growing population segment, with their population more than tripling due to both the aging baby-boomers and increasing longevity. This will have a significant effect on those living with eye disease, as many of these conditions are age related.
· The estimated average age of patients with age-related macular degeneration is 80 years old-the oldest of any of the included eye diseases. Patients with diabetic retinopathy have an average age of 66 years, the youngest of any of the included eye diseases.
Data from the report also include:
· Forecasts of vision-related disease by disorder, race, age, and sex.
· A breakdown of projected costs of eye disorders and vision loss from the perspective of three payers-government, private insurance, and patients and their families.
”We cannot stand by and passively accept vision loss as an inevitable condition of growing old,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of Prevent Blindness. “The sheer numbers of those who are and will be personally and financially impacted by vision impairment and blindness is far too great to ignore.
“The time to plan and develop a national strategy for saving sight is now,” he continued.