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K.D. Frick, G.A. Jacobson, R.W. Massof; Indirect Costs Experienced by Low Vision Patients . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):1965.
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Purpose: In recent years, an increasing number of analyses of the costs of illnesses, the annual economic burden of illnesses, and the net benefit or cost–effectiveness of interventions have appeared in the literature. While the last group of studies (net benefit and cost–effectiveness) is also represented in the eye care literature, the number of estimates of the burden of illness or cost of illness in the eye care literature has been limited and those that have been conducted have generally relied on assumptions about low vision and blind patients’ ability to be economically productive and degree of informal care. Our objective was to describe the indirect costs experienced by low vision patients at the Low Vision and Visual Rehabilitation Service at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Methods: In 2004, consecutive patients were asked about the indirect costs they experienced in a survey when they presented at the low vision center. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Economic formulae were applied to calculate costs. Results: This study summarizes the first 140 individuals. 18.7 percent were working, and of these 27 percent missed some time because of their health and 55 percent were less productive that they would have been otherwise because of their health. 75 percent of patients indicated that they were less productive at non–work activities than they would have been if not for their health. 68 percent received informal care. Average annual indirect costs for this population are estimated at $21,200. Conclusions: If this were representative of all low vision patients, indirect costs alone in the United States would be $50 billion. Given the magnitude of indirect costs, the inclusion of a comprehensive set of indirect cost measures in economic burden, cost–effectiveness, and cost–benefit studies related to low vision is important in the future.
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