Early intervention advised to treat eye disease

Interventions to prevent and treat eye disease at an early stage would result in a healthier and more productive population, according to the report released by the European Forum Against Blindness (EFAB). 
 
The six-country study, which analysed the economic impact of blindness and four other leading sight conditions, concluded that actively intervening could effectively offset the €20bn economic cost which blindness incurs across the region. 
 
Interventions could include early detection, prevention and treatment options, such as cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy screening, and anti-VEGF treatment for wet AMD. 
 
Chair of the EFAB, Professor Ian Banks, said: "The results of this study show the substantial threat to people’s quality of life, and draw out the enormous economic burden imposed on societies across Europe. Through the inclusion of screening, earlier diagnosis, adequate care, and appropriate and active treatment, we can already reduce the burden and minimise the risk for patients."
 
Carried out by independent health economics group, Deloitte Access Economics, the study covered the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Slovakia. While researchers found that blindness within these countries costs the economy over €7bn annually, the majority of the costs were a result of the provision of day-to-day care for blind people by family and friends.
 
To mark World Sight Day on October 10, the EFAB hosted a debate in European Parliament last week which aimed to raise awareness about preventable blindness across Europe. The event also offered the organisation the opportunity to share the reports of the study and discuss how it can help make blindness a public health priority. 
 
Read more about how we can help detect the earliest signs of preventable eye disease.

 

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