Personal costs of visual impairment by different eye diseases and severity of visual loss

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. Sep-Oct 2008;15(5):339-44. doi: 10.1080/09286580802227394.


Objectives: To determine the personal out-of-pocket costs of visual impairment and to examine the expenditure pattern related to eye diseases and the severity of visual impairment.

Methods: This prospective cohort study recruited participants of any age who were able to converse in English and had presenting visual acuity (VA) of < 6/12. Participants completed cost diaries regarding their daily personal vision-related expenditure. These were grouped under four categories: 1) medicines, products and equipment, 2) health and community services, 3) informal care and support and 4) other expenses. Socio-demographic and clinical data were also collected.

Results: In 2003 150 participants, aged between 10 and 93 years old, were recruited. The median and mean total costs of visual impairment was Australian Dollars (AUD)$2416 and $3376, respectively (mode = AUD$2001-3000, SD +/- AUD$3050, Range AUD$7-$18610). Adjusting for age, there was no effect for severity of visual impairment (mild, moderate or severe) or type of eye diseases on the annual total personal out-of-pocket costs of visual impairment (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Regardless of the type of eye diseases and the severity of visual loss, visual impairment posed a significant financial burden to both the individual and society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Economics, Medical
  • Eye Diseases / economics*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Visually Impaired Persons*