Annual direct cost of dry eye in Japan
Yoshinobu Mizuno, Masakazu Yamada, Chika Shigeyasu
Division for Vision Research, National Institute of Sensory Organs, National Tokyo Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan
On behalf of The Dry Eye Survey Group, National Hospital Organization of Japan
Background: This study was performed to estimate the annual direct cost incurred by dry eye patients, which includes expenses for treatment and drugs, as well as the cost of punctal plugs.
Methods: The study group consisted of 118 dry eye patients aged 20 years or older who visited any of the 15 medical care facilities that participated in this prospective cohort dry eye study. We estimated annual direct costs from outpatient medical records and survey questionnaires obtained from patients.
Results: Of the total patients enrolled, 10 were men and 108 women, and their average age was 64.1 ± 11.2 years. The number of hospital visits made by patients was 5.8 ± 3.6 per year. Among those who used ophthalmic solutions, the numbers of bottles used per year were as follows: 32.1 ± 20.8 bottles of hyaluronic acid ophthalmic solution (87 patients), 53.1 ± 42.2 bottles of artificial tears (40 patients), and 33.2 ± 23.2 bottles of over-the-counter eyedrops (15 patients). In patients with punctal plugs, 4.1 ± 3.9 plugs were used annually. The annual drug cost was 32,000 ± 21,675 Japanese yen (323 ± 219 US dollars). The clinical cost was 16,318 ± 9961 Japanese yen (165 ± 101 US dollars). The total direct costs including punctal plug treatment amounted to 52,467 ± 38,052 Japanese yen (530 ± 384 US dollars).
Conclusion: Although treatment modalities for dry eye in Japan were different from those in the US and in European countries, the direct cost of dry eye patients in Japan was comparable with that reported in those countries. Considering the high prevalence of dry eye, the direct cost of this chronic condition may be significant.
Keywords: burden of disease, cost, dry eye, eyedrops, quality of life
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