The economic burden of diabetic retinopathy in Germany in 2002

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2008 Jan;246(1):151-9. doi: 10.1007/s00417-007-0573-x. Epub 2007 Apr 4.


Background: The aims of our study were to describe the costs associated with diabetic retinopathy (DR), and to evaluate its economic impact in Germany.

Methods: Forty-one German ophthalmologists, randomly selected from a physicians' database in Germany, provided information on adult Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients with DR (n = 207). This information included socio-demographics, clinical characteristics and resource use during the year 2002. National-level cost estimates were calculated, based on these results and the prevalence data on DR in Germany.

Results: This study found that costs associated with DR tend to increase as DR progresses, being highest in patients with proliferative DR and lowest in patients with mild, non-proliferative DR. The German statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV) covered two-thirds of the total costs paid by all the payers. The total cost of DR from a societal perspective was calculated at 3.51 euros bn for the year 2002, and from the GKV perspective amounted to 2.23 euros bn.

Conclusions: This study is the first comprehensive study to provide estimates of costs associated with DR in Germany. These costs were estimated to account for approximately 1.5% of the total health-care expenditure in 2002.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / economics*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires