Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley’s Work in Corneal Transplantation Contributes to Total Lifetime Net Benefit of Nearly $6 Billion

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Corneal transplants performed in the United States this year will result in nearly $6 billion in total net benefits over the lifetime of the recipients, according to a six-month study undertaken by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA). Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley has been an EBAA member since 1961 and will provide 900 corneas for transplant this year, with an estimated lifetime value of $80,535,272*.

Life Economic Cost-Benefit of Corneal Transplant table

The cost-benefit analysis depicted in the table reveals that the lifetime benefit of the procedure is overwhelmingly greater than the costs of the surgery.

Eye disorders are the fifth costliest to the U.S. economy after heart disease, cancer, emotional disorders and pulmonary conditions.

Corneal transplants performed in the United States this year will result in nearly $6 billion in total net benefits over the lifetime of the recipients, according to a six-month study undertaken by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA). Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley has been an EBAA member since 1961 and will provide 900 corneas for transplant this year, with an estimated lifetime value of $80,535,272*.

The study compared the medical cost of transplant procedures to the direct and indirect lifetime costs of the alternative – living with blindness or severe vision impairment. With a corneal transplant, an individual avoids the direct expenditures that come with vision loss, such as higher routine medical costs and long-term care costs, and the indirect costs of potential years of lost productivity to both the patients and their family caregivers.

Eye disorders are the fifth costliest to the U.S. economy after heart disease, cancer, emotional disorders and pulmonary conditions.

According to Jim Quirk, “For over 56 years, Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley has served the communities of southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and the entire state of Delaware. Our work as an accredited eye bank is critical and ensures transplantable tissue is available when needed. However, cornea donors and their families who unselfishly say ‘yes’ to cornea donation are truly heroes as without their generosity transplantation would not happen; there is no substitute for the human cornea.” Quirk is President of the Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley.

The Eye Bank Association of America commissioned this study to determine the economic impact of corneal transplants. Researchers used previous years’ transplant numbers and census data to estimate total corneal transplants for the full 2013 calendar year.

Since Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley’s founding in 1957, more than 35,000 cornea transplant surgeries have been coordinated for men, women and children to restore their vision and relieve pain from injury and disease to the eye. With a success rate greater than 95 percent, the one-hour procedure restores the patient’s sight and his or her quality of life. In fact, it’s one of the most common and least invasive transplant procedures. The EBAA study proves the value of the procedure and the economic benefit to the patient, family and society.

Corneal transplants also translate to direct federal and state government savings. This study assumed full retirement at age 65, so the net indirect cost savings is small for these patients, but the per-capita lifetime net medical benefits of $67,500 for patients age 65 or greater receiving corneal transplants in 2013 will save Medicare, Medicaid and patients a combined $2.4 billion nationally, and $34,442,005* in the states served by Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley.

For a full copy of the report, please contact EBAA at info(at)restoresight(dot)org.

About Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley (LEBDV)

Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley, established in 1957, is a charter member of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA). EBAA is the oldest transplant association in the nation and champions the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation. Over 80 member eye banks operate in the United States, Canada and Asia. These eye banks made possible more than 70,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants in 2012 and the opportunity to perform more transplants is significant. Aside from those suffering from infections or communicable diseases, virtually everyone is a universal donor. The function of corneal tissue is not dependent on blood type, age, strength of eyesight or the color of the eye.

To learn more, visit the following web sites: Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley: http://www.lebdv.org or Eye Bank Association of America: http://www.restoresight.org.

*Savings calculations are determined by multiplying the net lifetime benefit by the number of patients we served in 2012.

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