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Estimating the Annual Economic Burden of Illness Caused by Contact Lens–Associated Corneal Infiltrative Events in the United States

Smith, Andrew F. Ph.D.; Orsborn, Gary O.D., M.S.

doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e31824ccaa1

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.

Medmetrics Inc. (A.F.S.), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Department of Health Economics (A.F.S.), McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Bausch + Lomb Inc. (G.O.), Rochester, NY.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Andrew F. Smith, Ph.D., Medmetrics Inc., 30 Charles Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1M 1R2; e-mail:

Funding for this research project was provided by a grant from Bausch + Lomb to Medmetrics Inc.

A. F. Smith, is an employee of Medmetrics Inc. G. Orsborn is an employee of Bausch + Lomb. The authors have no other funding or disclosures to declare.

Contributions of authors: Design of the study (A.F.S.); conduct of the study (A.F.S.); collection of data (A.F.S., G.O.); analysis and interpretation of the data (A.F.S., G.O.); preparation of the manuscript (A.F.S., G.O.).

Statement about conformity with author information: Institutional review board approval was not required because no patient level data was reviewed as part of this study

Accepted January 24, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.