Utility values and myopia in medical students in Singapore.

Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2005 Dec;33(6):598-603

Ministry of Health, College of Medicine Building, Singapore.

Purpose: Although technologies to correct myopia have progressed in recent years, it is not known how cost-effective such technologies are. In this paper, utility values of myopic medical students in Singapore were ascertained as a first step to deriving weights for quality adjustment in future cost-effectiveness studies of such technologies.

Methods: Students (n = 120) aged 18-22 years with myopia (spherical equivalent at least -0.5 D) from Singapore's sole medical school were recruited. Information on lifetime intention to undergo refractive surgery, contact lens use, proportion of waking time spent wearing corrective devices, and utility values using the time trade-off and standard gamble for death methods, were obtained.

Results: The mean utility values for time trade-off and standard gamble were 0.97 (95% confidence interval 0.96-0.98, median 1.00) and 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.98-0.99, median 1.00), respectively. Utility values were significantly higher among those who reported a probability of less than 50% that they would undergo refractive surgery within their lifetime, compared with those who reported a probability of 50% or more (means 0.98 vs. 0.95, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Utility values in myopic medical students obtained in this study appear to be relatively high, compared with those obtained for other ophthalmic conditions.

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December 2005
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