The Addressable Market
The market for the VelaSense Application is large, measured in several billions of dollars. There is an estimated 180 million people worldwide who have a visual impairment. Of these, between 40 and 45 million persons are blind (WHO).
The following projections are based on estimates of self-reported vision impairment
From: The Lighthouse National Survey on Vision Loss (www.lighthouse.org) and applied to US Census population projections.
- 17% of persons age 45 and older report some form of vision impairment, representing 16.5 million persons. By the year 2010, when all baby boomers are age 45 and older, this number will increase to 20 million.
- 9% of persons age 45 and older report a severe vision impairment, representing 8.7 million persons. By the year 2010, when all baby boomers are age 45 and older, this number will increase to 10.7 million.
- About 7.3 million, or 21% of persons age 65 and over, report some form of vision impairment. As baby boomers age, this number will reach 8.3 million in the year 2010, 11.3 million in 2020, and in 2030, 14.8 million persons age 65 and older will report some form of vision loss.
- About 3.8 million, or 11% of persons age 65 and over report a severe vision impairment. As baby boomers age, this number will reach 4.3 million in the year 2010, 5.9 million in 2020, and in 2030, 7.7 million persons age 65 and older will report a severe vision impairment.
Nationally, among persons age 21 to 64 who are visually impaired, defined as any difficulty or inability to see words and letters even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, only 41.5% are employed; among individuals unable to see words and letters, this figure decreases to 29.9%. This proportion is significantly lower than the approximately 84% of persons without any disability, or the 50% with any type of disability in this age group who are employed. In the US, the number of individuals with severe visual impairment doubled between 1999 and 2010 and will continue to grow as the population ages. This economic and quality of life disparity will be further exacerbated with an increase in the average age of retirement.
Other potential users include those with congenital blindness, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and users who suffer visual loss secondary to trauma, strokes or brain tumors. In the US, AMD affects over 9 million Americans over 40 years old, glaucoma affects one in 200 Americans by age 50 and one in 10 by age 80, and diabetes accounts for blindness in five million Americans. Individuals with dyslexia, which affects at least 5% of the US population, can also benefit from the reading function provided by one of the Company’s devices.
As the world’s population ages, more people will begin to suffer from vision impairment secondary to disease of the neural tissue such as the retina and optic nerve (in contrast to “optical” blindness such as that caused by cataracts that are surgically treatable). Glaucoma and macular degeneration, the leading cause of neural blindness in the industrialized world, are directly age-related.
The United Nations Statistics Division estimates that the number of people in the US who are over 65 will increase by 50% to 18% of the population between 2000 and 2025. In China, the percentage will double to 14% of the population and in Japan, it will increase by 65% to 28% of the population.
Another factor leading to increased vision impairment is the growing population suffering from diabetes. 84% of diabetic users are age 45 or older; by age 65, 27% of people have some form of the disease; and The National Eye Institute estimates that it alone accounts for blindness in five million Americans. A large fraction of diabetic users will develop retinopathy, a disorder of the retina that often results in visual loss and which forms a leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. People with diabetes are also 40% more likely to suffer additional visual loss from glaucoma. Obesity, epidemic in many countries, is also a significant factor in causing diabetes. The American Medical Association estimates that one in three American adults are obese.
Regulatory compliance measures from the FCC is driving the wireless providers to adopt new technologies for the visually impaired. The 21st Century Communications and Accessibility Act of 2010 has elevated the standards of the wireless providers to develop new accessibility features for mobile phones and other mobile devices.
To achieve compatibility, the FCC rules of the 21st Century Communications and Accessibility Act of 2010 require:
- External electronic access to all information and control mechanisms;
- A connection point for external audio processing devices;
- The ability to connect with TTYs; and
- the ability to use TTY signals.
These regulatory changes create a substantial opportunity for Visus and wireless providers are actively seeking solutions as a consequence of:
- Increased pressure from the FCC to raise the accessibility of mobile devices, databases, Internet and other areas including basic life management functions on mobile handset and tablets.
- Compliance with the law's provisions that are designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to emerging Internet Protocol-based communication and video programming technologies in the 21st Century.
Finally the addressable market for Visus Technology products will continue to increase with the economic development in some of the world’s largest population centers. As wealth continue to grow in countries such as China, India, Brazil and Eastern Europe, a larger fraction of the population will become potential customers for consumer products like VelaSense Application, and greater visually impaired consumer pressure will develop for availability of the VelaSense Application.
The Company’s financial projections do not include revenue from sales of products outside of the United States but it is the full intention of the Company to develop international commercial relationships at the appropriate time.