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Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare costs related to glaucoma treatment for early- and moderate-stage glaucoma patients.

Design: Descriptive observational study.

Methods: The study was conducted at the Eye Clinic in the Hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kauno Klinikos in Lithuania. An original questionnaire was administered to 80 open-angle glaucoma patients. Data regarding the age, gender, living area, occupation, income, concomitant diseases, frequency of outpatient visits, use of topical antiglaucoma and other medications, treatment and transportation costs were collected. The Hodapp classification was used to divide patients into two main groups of early- and moderate-stage glaucoma according to visual field loss. Results with p < 0.05 were interpreted as statically significant.

Results: There were 37 patients with early-stage glaucoma and 43 patients with moderate glaucoma. Moderate-stage glaucoma patients were 73 (± 8) years old, while patients with early-stage glaucoma were 63 (± 11) years old, (p < 0.001). Early-stage glaucoma patients visited their ophthalmologist 2.5 (± 1.5) times per year, while patients with moderate glaucoma had 4.4 (± 2.7) outpatient visits per year (p < 0.001). Patients with early-stage glaucoma used 1.8 (± 0.9) medications, while patients with moderate glaucoma used 2.9 (± 0.9) medications (p < 0.001). Combined costs for treatment and transportation totaled an average of 4.7% of patient income. Patients that were in the early stages of glaucoma spent about 3.2% of their annual income for glaucoma care and transportation, while patients with moderate-stage glaucoma spent about 5.9% of their income (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Moderate-stage glaucoma patients had significantly higher expenses related to glaucoma than early-stage glaucoma patients. Costs related to glaucoma comprised a significantly greater part of the income of patients who were retired than patients who were employed.