Economic Burden by Age

We estimated costs by four age groups: children aged 0-17 and adults aged 18-39, 40-64, and 65 and older. A majority of costs (55%) are incurred by the 65 and older age group. Children constitute 4% of total costs; while adults aged 18-39 and 40-64 accrue 16% and 24% of total costs, respectively.

Figure 1 Direct and Indirect Costs by Age Group in $ billions

Costs Age 0-17 Age 18-39 Age 40-64 Age 65+ All ages
Direct Costs 5.09 9.09 22.25 30.33 66.75
Indirect Costs .65 13.08 11.55 46.94 72.22
Total Costs 5.73 22.16 33.8 77.28 138.97


Burden by Cost Category and Age Group

We estimated the total economic burden of eye disorders among the total U.S. population to be $138 billion per year in 2013 dollars (Table 15.1). Diagnosed disorders, including costs for optometry visits, total $48.8 billion. Medical vision aids including glasses and contact lenses cost $13.2 billion. Medical costs attributable to undiagnosed vision loss are $3 billion. All other direct costs total $1.7 billion, with the largest components consisting of the cost of special education and school screening ($770 million) followed by the cost of non-medical assistive devices ($750 million). Federal assistance programs add $207 million. Indirect costs, including productivity losses ($48.4 billion), informal care ($2 billion), long-term care (20.2 billion) and deadweight loss from transfer payments ($1.5 billion), total $72.2 billion.

Table 15.1. Economic burden estimates by cost category and age group, in $ millions

Economic burden estimates by cost category and age group, in $ millions
*Not included in Total Costs