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Routine Glaucoma Assessment Deemed Cost-Effective

Last Updated: May 07, 2009.

Routine care to delay or prevent the incidence of glaucoma is cost-effective in comparison to the costs of not providing the care, both in terms of resource utilization and quality-of-life measures, according to a study in the May issue of Ophthalmology.

THURSDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Routine care to delay or prevent the incidence of glaucoma is cost-effective in comparison to the costs of not providing the care, both in terms of resource utilization and quality-of-life measures, according to a study in the May issue of Ophthalmology.

David B. Rein, Ph.D., of RTI International in Atlanta, and colleagues designed a computer model to assess the costs and benefits of routine glaucoma assessment and treatment compared to no treatment for a simulated population of 20 million people followed from age 50 to death or age 100. The analysis considered both conservative and optimistic scenarios and variously included or excluded diagnostic assessment costs. The outcomes measured included vision loss, ophthalmic and nursing home costs, cost per quality-adjusted life years (QALY) gained, and cost per year of sight gained.

Including diagnostic assessment costs, researchers calculated a cost of $46,000 per QALY gained with a conservative estimate of treatment efficacy, and $28,000 per QALY gained, with optimistic treatment efficacy. Excluding diagnostic assessment costs, the cost was $20,000 per QALY gained with conservative treatment efficacy, and $11,000 per QALY gained, with optimistic treatment efficacy.

"Glaucoma treatment was highly cost-effective when the costs of diagnostic assessments were excluded or when we assumed optimistic treatment efficacy. The cost was reasonable and in line with other health interventions even when diagnostic assessment costs were included and assuming conservative efficacy," the authors conclude.

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