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The European Forum Against Blindness (EFAB) has revealed the results of an 11-country study-an extension to the data reported last year covering six countries-which reports on the economic impact of blindness and four leading eyesight conditions, and concluded that blindness and vision loss lead to a reduced quality of life and increased economic burden to society.
Brussels, Belgium-The European Forum Against Blindness (EFAB) has revealed the results of an 11-country study-an extension to the data reported last year covering six countries-which reports on the economic impact of blindness and four leading eyesight conditions, and concluded that blindness and vision loss lead to a reduced quality of life and increased economic burden to society.
"The key consideration and the direct call to action from this report is that investing in earlier and more targeted interventions-for example, screening for diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma followed by treatment, anti-VEGF treatment as standard of care for wet AMD-would lead to a healthier population and help alleviate the cost of blindness," said professor Ian Banks, chairman of European Men's Health Forum (EMHF) and EFAB.
The topline results from the study, conducted by the independent health economics group, Deloitte Access Economics, can be accessed via the interactive analytical tool for blindness and vision impairment, which is available on http://www.efabeu.org/analytics.
The study-covering Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, reported that in these 11 countries:
· 862,067 people are blind
· Many people suffer from debilitating sight loss resulting from
o Cataracts: 29,184,875
o Diabetic retinopathy: 3,637,458
o Glaucoma: 4,466,224
o Wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD): 2,013,228
Blindness and the four eye diseases lead to a significant reduction in well being, equivalent to 123 million workdays lost per year.
Blindness and the eye diseases are estimated to result in annual economic costs of approximately 8 and 24 billion Euro respectively, across the countries studied.
The study concluded that each cost-effective intervention can off set economic costs in the range of 2 to 3 billion Euros. These interventions included anti-VEGF treatment as standard of care for wet AMD, appropriate early detection, prevention and treatment options, such as screening for cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma followed by treatment.
"In the EU-11, the four eye diseases affect approximately 1 in 10 people, and these conditions don't only impact those directly affected, but their carers, family members, and friends," Banks said. "Then, there is the considerable economic burden of blindness and vision loss to society to consider. For blindness, over 50% of this cost is from informal care."
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