, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 333-342

Cost-effectiveness of cataract surgery in Japan

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To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cataract surgery through measurement of the cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in Japan.


A total of 549 patients scheduled for cataract surgery at 12 clinical sites from November 2008 through February 2010 were included in the study. Prospective assessment of patient preference-based quality of life (utility) was performed before and after the surgery using the time tradeoff method, EuroQol, and Health Utilities Index Mark 3. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the correlation between utility and visual acuity. The QALYs gained through cataract surgery were estimated, and cost-utility analysis was performed.


The utilities significantly correlated with the visual acuity in the better seeing eye. In all the subgroups (first eye surgery, second eye surgery, and bilateral surgery), mean utility improvement was statistically significant. Average QALYs for unilateral cataract surgery and bilateral cataract surgery were 2.40 and 3.40, respectively. The cost per QALY gained from surgery was estimated at ¥122,472 (US $1,307) for unilateral surgery and ¥145,562 (US $1,553) for bilateral surgery.


Routine cataract surgery in Japan is highly cost-effective. Factors that contribute to this are the high clinical effectiveness of the surgery, the substantial improvement in patient-perceived quality of life, and the reasonable cost of the surgery.

This article is from the Eye Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Team (ECCERT). Address correspondence to: Yoshimune Hiratsuka, Department of Management Sciences, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6 Minami, Wako, Saitama 351-0197, Japan, e-mail: yoshi-h@tkf.att.ne.jp