The Impact of Anchor Point on Utilities for 5 Common Ophthalmic Diseases

Bryan S. Lee, Steven M. Kymes, Robert F. Nease, Walton Sumner, Carla J. Siegfried, Mae O. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Purpose: To elicit utilities on a perfect health and perfect vision scale for 5 common eye diseases. Design: Cross-sectional observational preference study. Participants: We included 434 patients: 58 with diabetic retinopathy, 99 with glaucoma, 44 with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 124 with cataract; 109 with refractive error. Testing: Standard gamble utilities were estimated using a computer-based preference assessment interview platform. Main Outcome Measures: Standard gamble utilities, a quality-of-life measure that examines the willingness to accept a risk of death or unilateral blindness in return for perfect health or perfect vision. Results: Using the standard policy scale, where health equivalent to death is 0 and perfect health is 1, participants with asymptomatic diabetic retinopathy had a utility of 0.93. By comparison, symptomatic diabetics had a further utility loss of 0.14. Asymptomatic glaucoma participants had a utility of 0.92 with a decrease of 0.03 for early field loss and a further decrease of 0.03 with central field loss. Participants with AMD who had ≥20/100 better-eye visual acuity reported a utility of 0.89, whereas those with more severe AMD reported 0.76. However, neither clinical cataract opacity score nor refractive error correlated with utility. Adjustment for age and comorbidity did not alter these relationships. For the same participants, utilities measured with different anchor points-monocular blindness as 0 and perfect vision as 1-were lower, especially among participants with increased disease severity. The difference between utility assessed on this perfect vision-blindness scale and the perfect health-death scale ranged from 0.04 for those with severe refractive error to 0.19 for symptomatic diabetics and 0.37 for those with severe AMD. Conclusions: This paper elicits utilities with different anchor points from a previously unreported sample of 434 patients. Lower utility scores normally imply greater benefit with successful treatment or prevention of disease, but switching from the conventional policy scale to the perfect vision scale also consistently results in lower scores. Because most previous ophthalmic studies have used perfect vision as the upper anchor, the resulting utilities may not have been accurate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-903.e4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


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