Mister Spex recently released The World Eye Care Coverage Index, an overview of the current status of eye health across the world. Using data from institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank as well as the health ministries of various countries, The leading German online retailer of optical products attempted to determine which nations offered higher eyecare coverage. 

The World Eye Care Coverage Index by Mister Spex shows the percentage of the population that uses glasses or contact lenses, whether the country provides insurance coverage for eye care, and which percentage of the population need eye care but cannot access it. The study offers insights into eye-care access in 65 countries.

According to the index set up by Mister Spex using data from various sources, the top ten countries for access to eye care for those who need it are Norway, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Germany, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. ranks 40th on the list, between Poland and Argentina. Nearly 7 percent of the population in the U.S. have no access to eye care, while more than half of the U.S. population, 53 percent, uses glasses. Ten percent of the population wear contact lenses and another 5.2 percent have opted for laser surgery, representing the highest percentage of any country on the list.

The U.K. ranks 22nd out of the 65 countries in the study. The country ranks 36th for the percentage of the population using glasses, with 69 percent of the adults in the U.K. needing glasses. Two percent of the population in the U.K. need eye care, but cannot access it. Contact lens wearers account for 8 percent of the population, with the same figure having had laser eye surgery.

The index shows Norway and Italy have the lowest percentage, both at 0 percent, of people requiring eye care, but unable to access it. Eritrea was found to have to highest ratio at 29.4 percent.

We were unable to obtain a complete version of the study. The data were evaluated by an agency that is no longer working with Mister Spex. 

Mister Spex points out that the number of people needing glasses or contact lenses is set to increase because most internet users look at screens for more than five hours per day. The WHO estimates that 929 million people worldwide will be living with some sort of vision impairment by 2020, amounting to a 27 percent increase as compared to 2010. It is projected to cost healthcare systems $2.77 trillion and the world economy a further $760 billion from indirect consequences such as job, education and tax losses.

A well-known study carried out by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, the South Wales Australia University and the Eye Research Institute in Singapore estimates that more than 4.1 billion people around the world will have myopia by 2050, as compared to 1.4 billion people globally who were myopic in 2001