1. Jan 25, 2019

Two Studies Show the Economic Impact of Infectious Conjunctivitis

Burden on families when it spreads and medical absenteeism evaluated. Treatment on the day of diagnosis shown to lower costs.

Infective conjunctivitis was shown to cause economic burden in two posters presented by Jay Stuart Prepose MD, PhD, of the Prepose Vision Institute in Chesterfield, MO, during the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2018 annual meeting in Chicago.

In the first study, investigators found that family health care costs increased with each new family member infected, as well as with increased transmission time. Researchers used the Optum Healthcare Solutions database to estimate total conjunctivitis episode costs, including the cost of care in seed patients and infected family members. Overall, nearly 900,000 seed patients experienced ~1.1 million episodes. Among the results:

  • Cost per episode in those who did not transmit to a family member was ~$800.
  • When family members were infected, costs increased more than $450/infected family member.
  • Longer time of transmission between seed patient and family member also increased costs – from ~$140 when the transmission period was between 1 and 7 days, to nearly $200 when it was greater than 7 days.
  • Total direct costs were more than $40 lower in seed patients who received conjunctivitis medication on the day they were diagnosed.

In the second study, Dr. Prepose found that conjunctivitis can lead to notable financial burden, including medically-related absenteeism. He and his colleagues used the Optum database to identify individuals with (n=~1 million) and without (n=~4.9 million) conjunctivitis. They compared direct and indirect costs over 2 months following diagnosis of conjunctivitis (or 2 months after an assigned date in those without the infection).  Among the results:

  • Emergency room visits were nearly $16 higher on average in patients with conjunctivitis.
  • Outpatient visits were ~$64 higher, and pharmacy costs were ~$26 higher.
  • Medically-related absenteeism was more than $100 higher in patients with conjunctivitis.

Prepose J, Cheung H, Bobbili P, Joseph C, Du M. Impact of infectious conjunctivitis transmission in families on direct all-cause health-care costs: A U.S. claims analysis. Poster presented at: AAO 2018 annual meeting; October, 26-30, 2018; Chicago.

Prepose J, Cheung H, Bobbili P, Joseph C, Du M. Direct and indirect costs of infectious conjunctivitis in the general population: A U.S. claims analysis. Poster presented at: AAO 2018 annual meeting; October, 26-30, 2018; Chicago.