November 08, 2013
1 min read

Medicare payments for glaucoma care per person declined between 2002 and 2009

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

The annual per-patient cost of glaucoma care among Medicare beneficiaries decreased in constant dollars between 2002 and 2009, according to a study.

However, cataract and retina eye care for patients with glaucoma outstripped the cost of glaucoma care, the study authors said.

Investigators used data from a 5% random sample of Medicare billing information from 2002 to 2009. Data included elderly patients older than 65 years with Medicare Parts A and B coverage who underwent glaucoma care. Claims were categorized as glaucoma, other eye care or other medical care.

Medicare fee-for-service glaucoma care costs in 2009 dollars were stable from 2002 to 2009. The per-patient, per-year cost in 2009 dollars decreased from $242 to $228.

Office visits accounted for 49% of all Medicare payments for open-angle glaucoma (OAG) diagnosis and care. Patients with OAG had a mean 2.4 visits per year. Diagnostic testing accounted for 31% of all Medicare payments for patients with OAG. Surgery accounted for 12% of payments for patients with OAG.

Less than 3% of patients with OAG underwent incisional surgery and about 5% underwent laser trabeculoplasty in 2009.

The total cost of non-glaucoma eye care was 67% higher than that of glaucoma care. Non-glaucoma costs mainly comprised cataract surgery and treatment of retinal disease.

Disclosure: The study authors have no relevant financial disclosures.