Background: The burden of illness, including health resource utilization and costs associated with bilateral neovascular age-related macular degeneration (Nv-AMD), was assessed in Spain.
Patients and methods: As part of an international prospective, case-controlled study, 89 Spanish patients with bilateral Nv-AMD were recruited by retina specialists and 96 Spanish control subjects were recruited by general practitioners and ophthalmologists. Physicians recorded clinical data and visual acuity (VA). In a subsequent telephone interview, Nv-AMD patients and controls completed the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ)-25, the EuroQol (EQ-5D), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire. Annual vision-related and non-vision-related medical costs and non-medical-related costs were calculated from study-specific questions.
Results: The mean age was 76.2 years for Nv-AMD patients and 61.9 years for control subjects. The adjusted mean (95% CI) NEI VFQ-25 summary score was 51.9 (48.5; 55.4) for Nv-AMD patients and 87.7 (85.5; 89.9) for control subjects (p<0.05). The summary score of Nv-AMD patients decreased significantly with VA declination. Mean direct vision-related medical and non-medical-related costs were significantly greater for Nv-AMD patients than the control subjects, whereas non-vision-related medical costs were similar between groups. The total mean annual resource utilization cost was euro5733 for Nv-AMD patients compared to euro1070 for control subjects (p<0.0001).
Conclusions: Although the study design is subject to a number of limitations, patients with Nv-AMD in Spain have worse quality of life outcomes, greater depression, and higher healthcare costs as compared with similarly-aged individuals who are not affected by this disease.