Aims: Glycemic control and ophthalmological care are known to significantly diminish the risk of visual impairment and blindness by diabetic retinopathy (DRP). The (cost-)effectiveness of both strategies was studied to highlight their benefits for patients and care providers. Methods: A computer analysis was developed, following the progression of DRP and the effectiveness of metabolic control and ophthalmological care continuously and individually in cohorts of type I and type II DM patients with divergent degrees of compliance. Costs relate to present medical charges in the Netherlands. Results: Intensive glycemic control shortens the duration of blindness in a type I DM patient by 0.76 years, intensive ophthalmological care by 0.53 years. One year sight gain may cost €1126 by providing ophthalmological care and €50 479 by glycemic control. The duration of blindness drops in a type II DM patient by 0.48 and 0.13 years, respectively, whereas the effectiveness decreases as the age of onset of DM rises. Conclusions: The vast majority of diabetic patients benefits from both intensive glycemic control and intensive ophthalmological care, but these cost-effective interventions which are not only complementary, but also substitute each other, require lasting, full compliance by all parties concerned.

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Health Policy
Department of Ophthalmology

Polak, B., Crijns, H., Casparie, A., & Niessen, L. W. (2003). Cost-effectiveness of glycemic control and ophthalmological care in diabetic retinopathy. Health Policy, 64(1), 89–97. doi:10.1016/S0168-8510(02)00143-4