Objective: To determine the importance that patients place on the characteristics of topical therapy for lowering intraocular pressure.
Methods: We administered a willingness-to-pay instrument to 230 patients from 4 glaucoma subspecialty practices, asking them how much they would be willing to pay to obtain particular characteristics in an eye drop. Data about the subjects' demographics, economic status, attitudes toward eye drops and systemic medications, and symptoms from eye drops were correlated with their willingness to pay using 2-part models.
Results: Of our subjects, 169 (77%) were using eye drops to lower their intraocular pressure. Fatigue, blurred vision, and tearing were the most commonly reported symptoms. Eye drop medications most valued by the subjects did not produce blurring, drowsiness, or inhibition of sexual performance; 85% were willing to pay more for an eye drop that did not cause blurring, and on average they were willing to pay 40% more. Higher educational levels and income were generally associated with a willingness to pay more for eye drops with desirable attributes.
Main outcome measure: Willingness to pay more (in dollars).
Conclusions: Patient preferences for eye drop characteristics can be assessed using a willingness-to-pay instrument. Patients place differing value on various eye drop characteristics. A better understanding of patient preference could lead to better compliance.