The Dry Eye Zone

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Abstract: The economic burden of dry eye disease in the US

This is an interesting summary of estimated costs of managing dry eye. I wonder where they got their recruits? I wish somebody would recruit some DryEyeTalk members.

I suspect this study is looking at people with considerably milder dry eye symptoms than your average DryEyeTalk member or DryEyeBulletin reader. The $783 estimated total annual cost per patient supposedly covers all direct (medical, OTC, etc) and indirect costs. Geez, most dry eye patients I know spend something in that neighborhood annually just in over-the-counter products and eyewear, let alone the cost of doctor visits and prescription drugs and indirect costs like lost workdays. In fact I know an awful lot of people who spend that much on artificial tears each year.

I suppose it is progress that they've included the cost of nutritional supplements, not just drugs, but someday I'd like to see a study that includes things like night goggles and moisture chambers, since protective eyewear is increasingly being recognized as a vital tool for severe dry eye and is usually the highest dollar item on the dry eye shopping list.


The Economic Burden of Dry Eye Disease in the United States: A Decision Tree Analysis.
Cornea. 2010 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Yu J, Asche CV, Fairchild CJ.
From the *University of Utah, College of Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and †Alcon Research, Ltd, Fort Worth, TX.

PURPOSE:
The aim of this study was to estimate both the direct and indirect annual cost of managing dry eye disease (DED) in the United States from a societal and a payer's perspective.

METHODS:
A decision analytic model was developed to estimate the annual cost for managing a cohort of patients with dry eye with differing severity of symptoms and treatment. The direct costs included ocular lubricants, cyclosporine, punctal plugs, physician visits, and nutritional supplements. The indirect costs were measured as the productivity loss because of absenteeism and presenteeism. The model was populated with data that were obtained from surveys that were completed by dry eye sufferers who were recruited from online databases. Sensitivity analyses were employed to evaluate the impact of changes in parameters on the estimation of costs. All costs were converted to 2008 US dollars.

RESULTS:
Survey data were collected from 2171 respondents with DED. Our analysis indicated that the average annual cost of managing a patient with dry eye at $783 (variation, $757-$809) from the payers' perspective. When adjusted to the prevalence of DED nationwide, the overall burden of DED for the US healthcare system would be $3.84 billion. From a societal perspective, the average cost of managing DED was estimated to be $11,302 per patient and $55.4 billion to the US society overall.

CONCLUSIONS: DED poses a substantial economic burden on the payer and on the society. These findings may provide valuable information for health plans or employers regarding budget estimation.
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