May 2005
Volume 46, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2005
The Financial Impact of Changing Trends in Glaucoma Treatment in Ireland
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • F.A. Knox
    Ophthalmology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • C. O'Brien
    Ophthalmology, Mater Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • M. Barry
    Ophthalmology, St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  F.A. Knox, None; C. O'Brien, None; M. Barry, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2005, Vol.46, 3655. doi:
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      F.A. Knox, C. O'Brien, M. Barry; The Financial Impact of Changing Trends in Glaucoma Treatment in Ireland . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):3655.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Glaucoma affects approximately 2% of the population in developed countries. In 2003 glaucoma drug sales worldwide were $2.8 Billion.


We investigated the effect of the introduction of new medications on the quantity and cost of prescribing and the operation rates for glaucoma in Ireland (Northern Ireland [NI] and the Republic of Ireland [ROI]) from 1996 to 2003.



A retrospective analysis was performed of drug costs, prescribing data and operation rates for glaucoma.


There was a 30% increase in prescription items for glaucoma in NI and a 59% increase in the ROI from 1996 to 2003. The prostaglandin analogues accounted for a third of the volume of prescribed drugs for glaucoma in 2003.


The costs increased much more rapidly than the number of items: 227% in the ROI and 81%. In the ROI, there was an average year on year increase of costs by 19% (figure 1). This was much greater than the 157% increase in expenditure of all drugs in the ROI in the same time period.


In the ROI new drugs accounted for 57% of the quantity of prescription items and 77% of the market cost for glaucoma in 2003 with prostaglandin analogue drugs alone accounting for 52.6% of the cost.


The number of trabeculectomies performed decreased by greater than 50% from 1996 to 2003.



During the eight year study period vast changes occurred in prescribing of glaucoma treatment in Ireland due to the introduction of new drugs. The number of older drugs prescribed decreased and the new drugs increased causing a profound rise in drug expenditure for glaucoma. The number of trabeculectomies performed decreased during the eight years.



Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: health care delivery/economics/manpower • pharmacology • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: treatment/prevention assessment/controlled 

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