Age-related macular degeneration: economic burden and value-based medicine analysis

Can J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jun;40(3):277-87. doi: 10.1016/S0008-4182(05)80070-5.


It can be estimated that 17,100 new cases of neovascular (wet) AMD and 180,000 new cases of geographic-atrophy (dry) AMD occur in Canada annually. In addition to having a devastating effect on patients' lives, the condition causes significant adverse consequences for the economy. The deleterious effect of AMD on quality of life is markedly underestimated by ophthalmologists who treat patients with AMD, by non-ophthalmic physicians and by the public. In fact, patients with different degrees of severity of AMD have a perceived impairment of their quality of life that is 96% to 750% greater than the impairment estimated by treating ophthalmologists. Mild AMD causes a 17% decrease in the quality of life of the average patient, a decrease similar to that encountered with symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus infection or moderate cardiac angina. Moderate AMD produces a 40% decrease in quality of life, a decrease similar to that associated with permanent renal dialysis or severe cardiac angina. Very severe AMD causes a 63% decrement in quality of life, a decrease similar to that encountered with advanced prostatic cancer with uncontrollable pain or a severe stroke that leaves a person bedridden, incontinent and requiring constant nursing care. The adverse economic consequences of AMD include an annual $2.6 billion negative impact on Canada's gross domestic product. The return on investment is high for both current AMD therapies and research into new treatment modalities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / economics*
  • Health Care Costs / trends*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Degeneration / economics*
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / therapy