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K. Venkataraman, T. Herron; Annual Direct Cost of Illness of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the US: Early Estimates of Societal Burden . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):3089.
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Purpose: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness in the United States. While literature suggests that the AMD population has significant lost earnings, to date, no substantive information exists on the direct costs of illness due to AMD. Thus, the purpose of this study was to obtain an early estimate of the annual direct cost of illness associated with AMD at all stages of the disease. Methods: Economic model. The model was developed in 3 steps. First, AMD prevalence in the US population was calculated from 2000 Census data for specific age categories and Beaver Dam study prevalence estimates. Second, the resource type and frequency of use by AMD patients were determined from a variety of sources, e.g., clinical treatment guidelines, official statistics, and expert consultation. Third, all the resources were converted into monetary terms for calculation of direct costs from a societal perspective. Resources relative to patient evaluation, treatment, management, visual rehabilitation, were costed out at Medicare rates, while low vision aids and nutritional supplements were calculated at retail costs. Results: Early estimates indicate that approximately 15.5 million in the US have early AMD, and over 0.5 million have geographic atrophy. Over 162,000 suffer from some form of classic CNV, while about 1 million may have occult CNV. Preliminary estimates of the resources consumed by these patients for diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, and management of AMD suggests that the direct US cost of illness associated with AMD is nearly $10 billion annually. Conclusions: While this research has limitations, it provides the first estimates of direct cost of illness of AMD. The total burden of this illness, significant now, may be higher due to lost productivity and impact on life, and can be expected to rise dramatically as the population ages. Thus, further research in this area is warranted to better understand the magnitude of AMD societal burden. These research will provide a foundation for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of current and future AMD treatments.
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