Social cost of retinal blindness in US will be billions of dollars by 2020
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The direct, indirect, and intangible costs due to neovascular age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, and proliferative diabetic retinopathy is estimated to cost the U.S. approximately $21 billion by 2020, according to a speaker here.
“Age-related macular degeneration will constitute the lion’s share of this amount with a little over $16 billion. Diabetic retinopathy will be about $4.5 billion,” Andrew A. Moshfeghi, MD, MBA, said at Retina World Congress.
If management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) does not improve, the costs associated with these diseases could triple by 2050, he said.
“We created an economic model that looked at costs of neovascular AMD, DME and diabetic retinopathy in blind patients and not blind patients. We looked at the difference between those two numbers and multiplied that by the relative prevalence and estimates for each of these diseases to come up with the social costs of blindness,” Moshfeghi said.
The number of cases of blindness in 2020 were estimated by applying prevalence estimates of blindness to the U.S. general population estimates. Moshfeghi and his colleagues estimated the number of cases of bilateral blindness, defined as visual acuity 20/200 or less due to retinal diseases at 246,422 cases in 2020.
Only the social costs accrued after a patient was defined as blind were included. Caregiving costs accounted for $12.4 billion, the largest contributor to the total costs, followed by intangible costs at $6.1 billion, Moshfeghi said.
“The costs of prevention of blindness from these diseases in fact are significant, but they may mitigate the economic impact of blindness on society,” he said.
– by Robert Linnehan
Reference: Moshfeghi AA. Evaluating the Social Costs of Blindness from AMD. Presented at: Retina World Congress; March 21 to 24, 2019; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Disclosure: Moshfeghi reports he is a consultant for Alimera, Allegro, Allergan, Clearside, EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Novartis, and Regeneron. He reports an equity position with Pr3vent and OptiSTENT, Inc.