The Economic Burden of Childhood Glaucoma

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Abstract

Purpose:

To date, there are limited data on the economic burden of childhood glaucoma, a relatively rare but visually debilitating disease. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the immediate costs of illness associated with childhood glaucoma during the first 4 years after presentation.

Methods:

Data on age, sex, surgical interventions, visits, examinations under anesthesia, and medications were collected yearly following presentation in patients with childhood glaucoma. Inclusion criteria included diagnosis of primary or secondary childhood glaucoma, age less than 21 years, and follow-up of 4 years. A total of 23 patients (39 eyes) were included. Cost analysis used 2013 hospital-specific charges and US average hourly wage to calculate outcomes of total, direct, and indirect costs (significance level P<0.05).

Results:

The annual cost of care of childhood glaucoma averaged $21,441.61 per patient, representing 1100% of annual costs in adult glaucoma and an increase of 800% in annual costs of health care per pediatric patient. The average total 4-year cost of care was $85,074.96 per patient. Surgical interventions and examinations under anesthesia were the greatest contributors to costs, representing 69.0% and 23.2% of total 4-year costs, respectively. The annual costs of care for childhood glaucoma were highest in the first year compared with subsequent years, averaging $46,293.62 per patient (P<0.05).

Conclusions:

Childhood glaucoma carries a substantial economic burden with the highest costs occurring in the first year after presentation. The greatest contributors to cost of illness are surgical interventions and examinations and anesthesia.

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