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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Evaluation of Non-Medical Costs Associated with Visual Impairment in Four European Countries

AUTHOR:

Antoine Lafuma

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2006

PUBLICATION:

PharmacoEconomics

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Visual impairment is a severe disability that puts a heavy burden on individuals, families and society.

  • In developed countries, the two major diseases leading to irreversible visual impairment are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

  • Their prevalence will increase dramatically with population aging.

  • This study reveals that total non-medical costs associated with visual impairment are considerable.

  • The non-medical social dimensions of visual impairment related to the consequent incapacity and dependency should encourage payers to finance health innovations that aim to preserve vision.

SUMMARY

Visual impairment is a severe disability that puts a heavy burden on individuals, families and society. In developed countries, the two major diseases leading to irreversible visual impairment are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Their prevalence will increase dramatically with population aging.


The economic consequences of visual impairment are considerable, but have rarely been documented, apart from some ‘top-down’ estimates based on national statistics. We estimated the non-medical costs related to visual impairment in four European countries: France, Italy, Germany and the UK.


The study found that total non-medical costs associated with visual impairment are indeed considerable. The present analysis demonstrates that the preponderant economic consequences of visual impairment lie beyond healthcare systems, and that visual impairment has a considerable negative impact on productivity. Considering the non-medical social dimensions of visual impairment related to the consequent incapacity and dependency should encourage payers to finance health innovations that aim to preserve vision.