While employers are constantly striving to enhance worker productivity, a new study from the journal Ophthalmology suggests a solution: correcting nearsightedness.
Conducted by global researchers, the study indicates that vision impairment caused by uncorrected myopia cost the global economy an estimated US$244 billion in lost productivity in 2015. While the issue is global, in East Asia, productivity loss exceeds $150 billion.
“Myopia has always been a real threat to public health, but we are anticipating crisis levels. It’s a public health issue projected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050,” Prof. Kovin Naidoo, Senior Vice President, 2.5 NVG Inclusive Business, Philanthropy and Social Impact, Essilor, and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “Now, our research proves that there are accompanying economic implications. The good news – the issue is correctable with an already-existing solution.”
The study finds that a one-off investment of $20 billion over 5 years would establish services to provide vision correction to all who need it, potentially leading to a significant savings in productivity loss.
“While this research highlights the connection between myopia and productivity, the consequences are far-reaching,” Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute, said in the news release. “Eyesight also impacts education, child development, and road safety. And for countries, several UN Sustainable Development Goals; #1 (No poverty), #4 (Quality Education), #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and #10 (Reduced Inequalities), won’t be met without good vision.”