Purpose To analyze differences in the cost of treatment for infants randomized to primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation versus optical correction with a contact lens (CL) after unilateral cataract surgery in the Infant Aphakia Treatment Study (IATS). Design Retrospective cost analysis of a prospective, randomized clinical trial based on Georgia Medicaid reimbursement data as well as actual costs of supplies used during the study, adjusted for inflation. Participants The IATS is a multicenter (n = 12), randomized clinical trial comparing the optical treatment of aphakia with either primary IOL implantation (n = 57) or CL correction (n = 57) in 114 infants with unilateral congenital cataract. Intervention One hundred fourteen infants underwent unilateral cataract surgery and were either corrected optically by primary IOL implantation at the time of surgery or were corrected with a CL after surgery. Main Outcome Measures The mean cost of cataract surgery and all additional surgeries, examinations, and supplies used up to 5 years of age. Results The 5-year treatment cost of an infant with a unilateral congenital cataract corrected optically with an IOL was $27 090 versus $25 331 for a patient treated with a CL after initial cataract surgery. The total cost of supplies was $3204 in the IOL group versus $7728 in the CL group. Conclusions Unilateral cataract surgery in infancy coupled with primary IOL implantation is approximately 7% more expensive than aphakia and CL correction. Patient costs are more than double with CL versus IOL treatment.
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