Economic impact of primary open-angle glaucoma in Australia

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. Sep-Oct 2011;39(7):623-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2011.02530.x. Epub 2011 Jun 9.


Background: Glaucoma is the World's leading cause of irreversible blindness, and poses serious public health and economic concerns.

Design: Review.

Samples: Published randomized trials and population-based studies since 1985.

Methods: We report the economic impact of primary open-angle glaucoma and model the effect of changes in detection rates and management strategies.

Main outcome measures: The cost-effectiveness of different interventions to prevent vision loss from primary open-angle glaucoma was measured in terms of financial cost (Australian dollars) and disability-adjusted life years.

Results: The prevalence of glaucoma in Australia is expected to increase from 208 000 in 2005 to 379 000 in 2025 because of the aging population. Health system costs over the same time period are estimated to increase from $AU355 million to $AU784 million. Total costs (health system costs, indirect costs and costs of loss of well-being) will increase from $AU1.9 billion to $AU4.3 billion in Australia.

Conclusion: Primary open-angle glaucoma poses a significant economic burden, which will increase substantially by 2025. This dynamic model provides a valuable tool for ongoing policy formulation and determining the economic impact of interventions to better prevent visual impairment and blindness from glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / economics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / economics
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depressive Disorder / economics
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological / economics
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / economics*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / therapy
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Risk Factors
  • Trabeculectomy / economics


  • Antihypertensive Agents