Researchers have shown that optical coherence tomography (OCT) has saved Medicare $9 billion dollars by reducing the frequency of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections used to treat patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (wet-AMD). Their results were published yesterday in the American Journal of Ophthalmology and announced publically at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. The manuscript serves as the capstone of the ARVO public awareness campaign, “Telling the story of OCT,” an ARVO initiative to promote the value of vision research to policymakers, the press, patients and the general public.
The savings to Medicare, the U.S. health insurance program for citizens over 65 years old, is 21 times more than the $0.4 billion invested by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation over 20 years — suggesting that investments in vision research more than pay for themselves.
ARVO President Claude Burgoyne, MD, FARVO, of Devers Eye Institute, and coauthors Philip Rosenfeld, MD, PhD of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Eric Swanson, MS, co-inventor of OCT, presented the paper’s findings to legislators yesterday on Capitol Hill at an hour-long Congressional briefing cosponsored by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. Prior to the briefing, the three participated in advocacy visits with their Congressional delegations, which were hosted by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR). To help policymakers better understand the technology and its capabilities, an OCT instrument provided by Leica Microsystems was available at the briefing to scan the retinas of attendees.
ARVO encourages members to refer to the paper, published as open access through support from Research to Prevent Blindness, and its conclusions when communicating the value of vision research to legislators, funders, journalists or the general public.
ARVO President Claude Burgoyne speaks to attendees at Capitol Hill briefing.
Co-authors Philip Rosenfeld, MD (l) and Eric Swanson (r) were presenters along with ARVO President Claude Burgoyne (c).
ARVO Executive Director Iris Rush gets an OCT scan during the briefing.
Briefing attendees lineup for their OCT scans.
Attendees included Sara Brown of Prevent Blindness and James Jorkasky, executive director of NAEVR, which supported the day's activities.