The economic burden of glaucoma and ocular hypertension: implications for patient management
Service d'Ophtalmologie, Hôpital Claude Huriez, Lille, France. Drugs & Aging
(Impact Factor: 2.84).
This paper reviews the burden and economic consequences of glaucoma upon healthcare systems and patients, especially elderly patients. An extensive review of the literature was conducted, primarily using MEDLINE, but also by examining selected article reference lists, relevant websites and the proceedings of specialised conferences. All relevant articles and documents were analysed. Glaucoma is characterised by destruction of the optic nerve. It is most often a continuous, chronic eye disease and the most frequent diagnosis is primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). POAG is mostly associated with intraocular hypertension which can be delayed by medication, surgery or laser therapy. The prevalence rate of glaucoma is about 1% in the population >50 years of age. The rate increases with age and is higher in Black and Hispanic populations. Glaucoma affects more than 67 million people worldwide. Cost-of-illness studies have shown the importance of this disease, on which more than pound300 million was spent in the UK in 2002. Most of the costs (45%) were associated with direct medical costs, but direct nonmedical costs (20%) and indirect costs (35%) were also not negligible. Recent economic studies have shown a dramatic increase in the number of patients with glaucoma receiving treatment but a reduction in use of surgical procedures to treat the condition, especially as first-line therapy. The greater part of medical expenditure is now on medication, with new, more potent, better tolerated, but more costly drugs replacing older and less expensive medications. Treatment costs are directly related to the severity of disease and the number of different treatments used; they are also negatively correlated with treatment efficacy in reducing intraocular pressure. However, long-term economic benefits that may be associated with use of more potent new drugs (by delaying institutionalisation) have never been documented. Glaucoma screening has also been found not to be cost effective, although these results should be reconsidered in the light of new data.
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- "Glaucoma, a degenerative group of diseases characterized by visual field loss and optic nerve degenerating changes, is the second major cause of blindness in the world . As a major type of primary glaucoma in most populations, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is defined by an open anterior chamber angle and elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), without other comorbidities [2-4]. However, this disease progresses slowly with concealed symptoms, which are barely detectable until evident and irreversible loss in visual field emerges. "
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To study the association of apolipoprotein E (APOE) polymorphisms and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
After a systematic literature search, all relevant studies evaluating the association between APOE polymorphisms and POAG were included. All statistical tests were calculated with Stata 11.0.
Twelve independent studies on the APOE gene (1,971 cases, 1,756 controls) and POAG were included. A significant association between the APOE gene and POAG was found in the genetic model of ε4/ε4 versus ε3/ε3 (odds ratio [OR] = 2.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12–3.88, p = 0.02). However, no association was detected in the models of ε2/ε2 versus ε3/ε3, ε2/ε3 versus ε3/ε3, ε2/ε4 versus ε3/ε3, ε3/ε4 versus ε3/ε3, allele ε2 versus allele ε3, and allele ε4 versus allele ε3. Subgroup analyses showed that a statistically significant association between the APOE gene and the risk of POAG existed in the genetic model of ε4/ε4 versus ε3/ε3 in Asians (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 1.06–11.87, p = 0.04). No association was identified between the APOE gene and the risk of POAG in Caucasians.
The present meta-analysis indicated that the ε4/ε4 genotype is associated with increased risk of POAG in Asians.
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- "According to the review articles, the majority of total cost is derived from medications (14–55%), non-medical direct costs (20%) and indirect costs (35%; Rouland et al. 2005; Tuulonen 2009). Naturally, much of the variation in cost division can be attributed to differences in treatment protocols between countries (Tuulonen 2009). "
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Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy associated with neural rim loss of the optic disc and the retinal nerve fibre layer typically causing visual field (VF) deterioration. Generally, glaucomatous lesions in the eye and in the visual field progress slowly over the years. In population-based cross-sectional studies, the percentage of unilateral or bilateral visual impairment varied between 3-12%. In screening studies, 0.03-2.4% of patients have been found to suffer visual impairment. Glaucoma has previously been associated with substantial healthcare costs and resource consumption attributable to the treatment of the disease. The disease also causes reduction in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with glaucoma.
Objective and methods:
This study compares patients with diagnosed open-angle glaucoma from two geographically different regions in Finland. A total of 168 patients were examined, 85 subjects from an area with higher per patient treatment costs (Oulu) and 83 patients from a region with lower per patient treatment costs (Turku). All patients had a history of continuous glaucoma medication use for a period of 11 years. For each patient, the total direct costs from glaucoma treatment were calculated and the total amount of resource consumption was determined from registries and patient records. Each patient underwent a clinical examination with visual field assessment and fundus photography. These data were used to determine the current stage of disease for each patient. Health-related quality of life questionnaire (15D) was used in determining each patient's subjective HRQoL score.
When applying the current diagnostic criteria for open-angle glaucoma, a total of 40% of patients did not to display any structural or functional damage suggesting glaucoma after 11 years of continuous medical treatment and follow-up. Patients with higher glaucoma stage (worse disease) were found to have statistically higher treatment costs compared with those at lower disease stages. Resource consumption was also greater in the patients in higher glaucoma stage. Patients in the Oulu district consumed more resources, and glaucoma treatment was more expensive than in the Turku area. The total treatment cost in Oulu and Turku was 6010 € and 4452 €, respectively, for the whole 11-year period. There was no statistically significant difference in quality-of-life scores between the two areas. No difference was noted between the higher-spending and lower-spending areas in this respect. However, when the population was analysed as a whole, patients with higher glaucoma stage were found to have lower vision-based 15D scores compared with those at lower disease stages. This observation was made also at both districts independently.
Major cost source in open-angle glaucoma treatment is medication, up to 74% of annual costs. In addition, it seems that higher resource consumption and higher treatment costs do not increase the patients' HRQoL as assessed by the 15D instrument.
Available from: PubMed Central
- "However, in developed countries, it is documented that there is a reduction in use of surgical procedures to treat the condition, especially as first-line therapy. The greater part of medical expenditure is on medication at present, with new, more potent, better tolerated, but more costly drugs replacing the older and less expensive ones.4 Evidence from one trial suggests that for mild open angle glaucoma, the visual field deterioration when patients are followed up for over 5 years does not differ significantly according to whether treatment is with medication or trabeculectomy. "
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ABSTRACT: Primary open angle glaucoma is reported to blind 150,000 people in the Nigerian population and over 7000 in Rivers State, and requires constant follow-up. Compliance is a challenge, given that most inhabitants live below the poverty line. This study was performed to determine how Nigerian patients are affected economically by the disease.
Consecutive adult patients attending the eye clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria, with a diagnosis of primary open angle glaucoma and on outpatient antiglaucoma treatment in the first 6 months of 2006, were recruited for the study. The lowest paid government worker was on USD50 (N7500.00) per month and the gross domestic product per capita was USD1150 for the period under review.
We enrolled 120 consecutive patients of mean age 52.7 ± 10.4 years, with a male to female ratio of 2:3. The most common occupations were in the civil service (n = 56, 46.7%). All participants were on topical antiglaucoma treatment. The average cost of medical antiglaucoma medication was N6000 (USD40) per month. Computed to include indirect costs, including medical laboratory tests, transportation, and care by patient escorts, an average sum of USD105.4 (N15,810) was spent by each patient per month. Most of the patients (73.3%) were responsible for their own treatment costs. No patient accepted the cheaper option of surgery (USD275.4, N41,310). Eighty of the patients (66.7%) visited our eye clinic monthly. Direct and indirect loss to the economy was USD3,064587 per annum from those already blind. This was in addition to the USD 4.1 million being spent yearly on medical treatment by those who were visually impaired by glaucoma.
Middle-income earners spent over 50% of their monthly income and low-income earners spend all their monthly earnings on treatment for glaucoma. This situation often resulted in noncompliance with treatment and hospital follow-up visits. To reduce the economic burden of glaucoma, trabeculectomy performed by experienced surgeons should be offered as first-line treatment for glaucoma in this country, rather than medical therapy.
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