New report shows cost of vision loss in New Zealand rose 33.6% to $3.74 billion in 2021


A new report from Vision Research International shows that the total cost of vision loss in New Zealand, including total welfare loss, rose to $3.74 billion in 2021, an increase of 33.6% since 2009. The economic and financial cost alone has climbed to $765 million over the past 12 years, an increase of 91.2%.

Blind Low Vision NZ Managing Director John Mulka said: “These figures are incredibly shocking, and it is clear that more needs to be done to address the costs of vision loss in Aotearoa.”

Unlike other countries around the world, New Zealand has never conducted a population-based study of the prevalence of vision loss.

“People are losing their sight unnecessarily and being denied access to treatment because eye care has been chronically neglected in our healthcare system,” says Mulka.

The current study led by Dr. Keith Gordon Ph.D. represents an update of data from the 2009 Clear Focus report using projections made with readily available data, where possible, to account for the increasing the prevalence of people living with vision loss and the increased costs associated with vision loss.

About Blind Low Vision NZ

Blind Low Vision NZ believes that every New Zealander should be able to access the eye care services they need to achieve the best results for themselves. This means taking steps to combat preventable blindness, making the most of a person’s remaining vision and, if necessary, maximizing the ability to live with vision loss.

We believe that a healthcare system that supports good eye health and vision rehabilitation services for people living with blindness or low vision is essential to supporting the health and well-being of our communities.

We believe that our current eye health system can do better and we have a role to play in developing solutions alongside others in the industry.

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