Economic Burden of Ageing Eye conditions estimated on the scale of up to billions in USA, Germany and Bulgaria
The Foundation in the News
On World Sight Day 2022, Retina International is presenting data from a report on its study into the Socio-economic Impact of late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Bulgaria, Germany, and USA.
DUBLIN, October 13th, 2022: On World Sight Day 2022, Retina International is presenting data from a report on its study into the Socio-economic Impact of late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Bulgaria, Germany, and USA.
The study provides an insight into the disease burden on patients and caregivers living with these conditions, as well as society at large. Three countries were selected to represent a range of different costs and experiences; the USA has the largest population of individuals impacted by a form of late-stage AMD, while Germany and Bulgaria represent developed and developing economies within the EU, respectively.
AMD is an eye condition that causes gradual decline of central vision and in advanced stages can impact one’s ability to perform activities of daily living such as reading, driving, and facial recognition. Advanced or late-stage AMD is a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world and can be classed into two categories: neovascular/wet AMD (nAMD) or dry AMD, often referred to as geographic atrophy (GA).
The study estimated costs related to direct medical costs, indirect medical costs, productivity, and wellbeing using the mid-value estimate prevalence rates. Topline data from this study estimates that:
In the USA, the total economic impact of late-stage AMD was estimated at $49.1 billion (€ 43.1 billion) comprised of:
- $27.5 billion (€ 23.9 billion) being attributed to nAMD, and;
- $22.06 billion (€ 19.2 billion) attributed to GA.
The majority of costs for both conditions could be attributed to productivity i.e., job loss or job reduction due to the condition: 46% of the total figure for nAMD and 36% for GA.
In Germany, the total economic impact of late-stage AMD was estimated at € 7.6 billion, with:
- € 3.9 billion being attributed to nAMD, and;
- € 3.7 billion attributed to GA.
Bulgaria, a developing economy in the European Union, was estimated to have € 449.4 million (879.5 million BGN) associated with late-stage AMD out of which:
- € 228.9 million (447.5 million BGN) was associated with nAMD and
- € 220.5 million (431.5 million BGN) was associated with GA.
In both European countries, and across both conditions, wellbeing costs accounted for the largest proportion. Germany reported that 48% of costs associated with nAMD were attributed to wellbeing, while for GA this figure rose to 87%. In Bulgaria, 64% of costs associated with nAMD and 87% of costs associated with GA were attributed to wellbeing.
Lived Experience of Patients and Caregivers
In addition to economic impact, this study highlighted the lived experience and challenges of patients and caregivers living with nAMD and GA. Of all patients who participated in the study, it was reported that 44% experienced anxiety, and 41% experienced depression. Mr. Franz Badura, Chair of Retina International highlighted that “It is essential that more attention be given to the treatment of wellbeing associated with AMD. Better education about the value of eye-care services for older people, as well as accessible support resources for maintaining quality of life with the condition are critical to improving the wellbeing and societal inclusion of affected individuals.”
In relation to productivity, 26% of respondents living with late-stage AMD reported job loss and 55% reported job reduction due to their condition. Further to this, 15% of caregivers reported having to reduce their working hours due to caring responsibilities. Dr. Petia Stratieva, MD, PhD., Policy Manager at Retina International attests that “The effect AMD has on an individual’s daily living leads many to give up their careers due to declining vision. With retirement ages increasing, it is imperative to promote public policy actions that eliminate age-related discrimination, and secure preventive care to maintain maximum functional capacity of individuals.”
These data highlight critical gaps in support and care to those living with late-stage AMD and their caregivers. Ms. Avril Daly, CEO of Retina International says on the issue: “Visual impairment in older adults leads to functional limitation, poor psychological health, challenges in the management of medication, worse overall health outcomes, and increased health care spending. Promoting the visual health of older people is not only a public health priority, but also an economic concern. Another significant burden that is rarely considered is that of the caregivers, often a family member who may need to give up or curtail their work and social interactions in order to support their relative living with AMD”
Call to Action
To ensure the ageing retina community receives care that prevents avoidable blindness, and to reduce the associated negative impact of AMD on both those affected and their caregivers, Retina International calls upon governments to:
- Develop, and where developed, implement early detection programs for age-related macular degeneration.
- Promote public policy actions that eliminate age-related discrimination
- Prioritise providing accessible, affordable eye care and support resources to older adults.
- Promote the inclusion and wellbeing of the ageing vision loss community.
For More Information
The full report on the socio-economic impact of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Bulgaria, Germany and USA is available for download at the following link: https://retina-international.org/amd-impact-cost-of-illness-study/
To learn more about Retina International’s policy actions on conditions of the ageing retina, visit our Retina Action website.
For further information or queries, please contact email@example.com.