Objectives: The aim of this study was to estimate the annual cost of illness caused by contact lens–associated corneal infiltrative events (CL-CIEs) among soft CL wearers in the United States.
Methods: This study was conducted in the United States. The study population was comprised of daily wear contact lens users in the United States, which number approximately 35 million. A comprehensive review of the medical literature for data on the annual incidence of CL-CIEs was conducted. Cost estimates were drawn from the literature and published tariffs. The perspective of the study was a U.S. healthcare perspective and because of the short duration of most CL-CIEs, no discounting was performed. The main outcome measure involved the total annual number of persons with CL-CIEs and associated direct and indirect costs.
Results: In the United States in 2010, it was calculated that a total of 32,031 nonsevere and 17,248 severe CL-CIEs occurred, respectively. The cost per nonsevere and severe CL-CIEs was estimated to be $1,002.90 and $1,496.00, respectively. Overall, the total estimated direct and indirect cost of nonsevere CL-CIEs and severe CL-CIEs in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be $58 million.
Conclusions: This study estimated the economic burden of illness imposed by CL-CIEs on both the healthcare system and individual patients in the United States. Strategies designed to minimize the occurrence and impact of CL-CIEs, such as using improved lens care regimens and lens case management, the use of daily disposable lenses, and more efficacious ocular antibiotics may be beneficial in reducing this economic burden.