Background: Amblyopia (prevalence 3.4%) is in principle treatable, but approximately one quarter of children do not reach reading acuity in the amblyopic eye. Adults with persistent amblyopia and/or strabismus experience a decrease in quality of life. This was now quantified by patient-perceived utility values. Methods: Subjects were born 1962-1972 and had been treated by occlusion therapy for amblyopia by one orthoptist 30-35 years ago. All children in Waterland with amblyopia and/or strabismus had been referred to this orthoptist. Utilities were derived by methods of time trade-off, TTO (lifetime traded against perfect vision) and standard gamble, SG (death risk accepted for perfect vision). Most troubling eye disorder (low acuity of the amblyopic eye, lacking stereopsis or strabismus) was chosen and ranked among nine chronic disorders according to the subject's perceived severity. Results: From 201 patients that could be contacted 35 years after occlusion therapy - out of 471 who had been occluded - 135 were included: 17 could not be reached, 34 refused, and 15 had other reasons to not participate. Mean age was 40.86 years; 53% were male. Seventy percent were willing to trade lifetime according to the TTO method; its mean (log) utility was 0.963, i.e., a decrease in quality of life of 3.7%. Thirty-seven percent accepted death risk according to the SG method; its mean utility was 0.9996. TTO outcomes correlated with current near and distance visual acuity. Low acuity of the amblyopic eye, chosen as most troubling eye disorder, ranked slightly less severe than tooth decay. Conclusion: Amblyopia and/or strabismus patients had a slightly decreased utility. The decrease is small but still important in the cost-effectiveness of vision screening because these conditions occur very frequently.

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Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van de Graaf, E., Kempen-du Saar, H., Looman, C., & Simonsz, H. (2010). Utility analysis of disability caused by amblyopia and/or strabismus in a population-based, historic cohort. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 248(12), 1803–1807. doi:10.1007/s00417-010-1457-z