Costs related to eye disease are expected to skyrocket 376% by 2050 as a result of changing US demographics, according to “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” a new report from Prevent Blindness.
The shifting American landscape includes aging baby boomers, an increase in minority populations and a growing number of women living past age 90—all of which will contribute to an upward climb in cases of eye disease and vision problems, with a price tag of $717 billion by 2050 when adjusted for inflation, the study says.
“We cannot stand by and passively accept vision loss as an inevitable condition of growing old,” Prevent Blindness CEO Hugh R. Parry said in a statement. “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.”
The report, commissioned from researchers at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, predicts that eye disease and vision problems will cost more than $384 billion by 2032.
Researchers further predict that costs will shift from patients and private insurance to government as the baby-boomer generation ages into the Medicare program. Based on researchers’ predictions, the government will pay more than 41% of costs by 2050, while the burden paid by patients will drop to 44% and that paid by private insurers to 16%.
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