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Monitoring ocular hypertension, how much and how often? A cost-effectiveness perspective
  1. R Hernández1,
  2. JM Burr2,
  3. L Vale3,
  4. A Azuara-Blanco4,
  5. JA Cook5,
  6. K Banister6,
  7. A Tuulonen7,
  8. M Ryan1
  9. for the Surveillance of Ocular Hypertension Study group
    1. 1Health Economics Research Unit, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
    2. 2School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, UK
    3. 3Health Economics Group, Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    4. 4School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
    5. 5Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, UK
    6. 6Health Services Research Unit, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
    7. 7Tays Eye Centre, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
    1. Correspondence to Dr J M Burr, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TF, UK; jmb28{at}


    Objective To assess the efficiency of alternative monitoring services for people with ocular hypertension (OHT), a glaucoma risk factor.

    Design Discrete event simulation model comparing five alternative care pathways: treatment at OHT diagnosis with minimal monitoring; biennial monitoring (primary and secondary care) with treatment if baseline predicted 5-year glaucoma risk is ≥6%; monitoring and treatment aligned to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) glaucoma guidance (conservative and intensive).

    Setting UK health services perspective.

    Participants Simulated cohort of 10 000 adults with OHT (mean intraocular pressure (IOP) 24.9 mm Hg (SD 2.4).

    Main outcome measures Costs, glaucoma detected, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).

    Results Treating at diagnosis was the least costly and least effective in avoiding glaucoma and progression. Intensive monitoring following NICE guidance was the most costly and effective. However, considering a wider cost–utility perspective, biennial monitoring was less costly and provided more QALYs than NICE pathways, but was unlikely to be cost-effective compared with treating at diagnosis (£86 717 per additional QALY gained). The findings were robust to risk thresholds for initiating monitoring but were sensitive to treatment threshold, National Health Service costs and treatment adherence.

    Conclusions For confirmed OHT, glaucoma monitoring more frequently than every 2 years is unlikely to be efficient. Primary treatment and minimal monitoring (assessing treatment responsiveness (IOP)) could be considered; however, further data to refine glaucoma risk prediction models and value patient preferences for treatment are needed. Consideration to innovative and affordable service redesign focused on treatment responsiveness rather than more glaucoma testing is recommended.

    • Intraocular pressure
    • Glaucoma
    • Public health

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