Vision loss costs New Zealand billions

By: Vision 2020 New Zealand  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Vision Loss

VISION 2020 New Zealand Media release

3 August, 2011

Vision loss costs New Zealand billions

Largely preventable vision loss cost New Zealand society $2.8 billion in 2009 and this figure is increasing each year, according to research released yesterday by VISION 2020 New Zealand.

Clear Focus, an economic impact report undertaken by Australian researchers, Access Economics, shows that direct health costs alone as a result of vision loss added $198 million to New Zealand’s health system expenditure in the same year.

It also reveals that Māori are disproportionately affected by vision loss, with those aged 45-74 years twice more likely to experience blindness than non-Māori.

Health Committee Chair Dr Paul Hutchison, who hosted last night’s Parliamentary event to launch the findings, says he is concerned by the figures.

“These numbers are alarming for all New Zealanders,” Dr Hutchison says.

“Costs of this size, not to mention the impact on people’s lives, dramatically affect our society and our health care system.”

The Government has repeatedly supported the World Health Organization’s goal to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020. However VISION 2020 New Zealand Chair, Don McKenzie, cautions that with less than 10 years to go until 2020, it is vital that political commitment is backed with action.

“New Zealand is one of the only developed countries in the world that does not have a national plan and budget for the prevention of vision loss,” Mr. McKenzie says.

“The Clear Focus research predicts that without such a plan, by 2020 approximately 174,000 New Zealanders over 40 will have vision loss and 18,300 will be blind.”

VISION 2020 New Zealand is working with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind and cbm New Zealand, along with other not for profit and eye health sector organisations to build support for a comprehensive national eye health strategy.


The information in this article was current at 27 Mar 2012

Keywords: Vision Loss

Contact Vision 2020 New Zealand


Print this page

Other news and updates from Vision 2020 New Zealand


Help eliminate avoidable blindness this World Sight Day

VISION 2020 New Zealand is using this research to build support across the eye health and disability sectors and across political parties for a comprehensive national eye health strategy. The Clear Focus campaign, launched at Parliament on 2 August, is endorsed by 10 eye health and disability organisations and has received over 6,500 signatures to an online petition.


Workshop '09 | VISION 2020 New Zealand

9:10 The concepts and values of the population perspective.Richard Edwards.9:40 Geoff Duff - Vision 2020 & eye service priorities in NZ 9:55 The Vision 2020 New Zealand framework for ‘population eye health’ projects.Richard Edwards & Geoff Duff Discussion 15 minutes. Optometrists, ophthalmologists, eye service providers,public health practitioners. VISION 2020 New Zealand's first “Population Eye Health" workshop.