The cost-effectiveness of grid laser photocoagulation for the treatment of diabetic macular edema: results of a patient-based cost-utility analysis

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2000 Jun;11(3):175-9. doi: 10.1097/00055735-200006000-00004.


Grid laser therapy has been demonstrated to be of benefit for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The purpose of the present study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of grid laser therapy for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The analysis was performed from the perspective of a third-party insurer. Decision analyses and cost-effectiveness analyses were performed by incorporating the data from the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study, expected longevity data, and patient-based utilities. Various sensitivity analyses were performed to determine the robustness of the models. Laser treatment conferred an overall improvement in quality-of-life adjusted years of approximately 3 months over the duration of disease for a hypothetical patient. The unadjusted cost per quality-of-life adjusted year (QALY) was US$3,101. Net present value analysis demonstrated that the cost per QALY could increase to $3,655, assuming a 5% discount rate. Overall, grid laser photocoagulation for diabetic macular edema is a very cost-effective treatment based on the results of this cost-utility analysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / economics*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / mortality
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation / economics*
  • Macular Edema / economics*
  • Macular Edema / mortality
  • Macular Edema / surgery
  • Models, Econometric
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Survival Rate
  • Visual Acuity