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Arch Ophthalmol. 2012 Apr;130(4):497-505. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.2727. Epub 2012 Feb 13.

Cost-effectiveness of medications compared with laser trabeculoplasty in patients with newly diagnosed open-angle glaucoma.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, 1000 Wall St, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.



To determine the most cost-effective treatment option for patients with newly diagnosed mild open-angle glaucoma: observation only, treatment with generic topical prostaglandin analogs (PGAs), or treatment with laser trabeculoplasty (LTP).


Using a Markov model with a 25-year horizon, we compared the incremental cost-effectiveness of treating newly diagnosed mild open-angle glaucoma with PGAs, LTP, or observation only.


The incremental cost-effectiveness of LTP over no treatment is $16,824 per quality-adjusted life year. By comparison, the incremental cost-effectiveness of PGAs over no treatment is $14,179 per quality-adjusted life year, and they provide greater health-related quality of life relative to LTP. If PGAs are 25% less effective owing to poor patient adherence, LTP can confer greater value.


Prostaglandin analogs and LTP are both cost-effective options for the management of newly diagnosed mild open-angle glaucoma. Assuming optimal medication adherence, PGAs confer greater value compared with LTP. However, when assuming more realistic levels of medication adherence (making them 25% less effective than the documented effectiveness reported in clinical trials), at current prices for PGAs, LTP may be a more cost-effective alternative.

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