Share This Page

Lifetime savings from corneal transplants: $291,000 per person

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 5:33 p.m.

Patients, health insurers and taxpayers will save about $6 billion in direct medical costs and maintained productivity from corneal transplants performed this year, according to a study by the Eye Bank Association of America.

The study compared the expense of transplant procedures with the costs to patients — and subsequently, health insurers and taxpayers — of living with blindness or severe vision loss over the patient's lifetime. The direct lifetime costs of blindness are $77,000 per person, while indirect costs, such as lost productivity, health care costs and taxpayer-funded disability benefits, are $214,000, the study found.

And you can't put a price on the benefits to people who have had their eyesight restored through transplants, said Kevin Corcoran, Eye Bank president and CEO.

“People talk about how their life was disrupted when they learned they were losing their sight and about all the things they lost, not being able to see their children or grandchildren or not being able to go to work and do the things they love,” Corcoran said.

Doctors performed more than 46,000 corneal transplants in the United States in 2011, the study found. More than 1 million corneal transplants have been done since 1991.

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education, a nonprofit organ procurement organization based in O'Hara, expects to recover about 900 corneas for transplantation this year, providing an estimated lifetime value of more than $43 million, the organization said.

CORE is about average among the 85 eye banks across the country based on the number of corneas recovered, Corcoran said.

Andrew Conte is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7835 or andrewconte@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.