Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness of screening and subsequent intervention for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Japan. Study design: Best-case-scenario analysis using a Markov model. Methods: The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening for AMD were assessed by calculating the reduction proportion of blindness and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). The Markov model simulation began at screening at the age of 40 years and ended at screening at the age of 90 years. The first-eye and second-eye combined model assumed annual state-transition probabilities in the development and treatment of AMD. Data on prevalence, morbidity, transition probability, utility value, and treatment costs were obtained from previously published reports. Sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the influence of the parameters. Results: In the base-case analysis, screening for AMD every 5 years, beginning at age 40 years and ending at age 74 years (reflecting the screening ages of the current Japanese legal “Specific Health Checkups”) showed a decrease of 40.7% in the total number of blind patients. The screening program reduced the number of blind people more than did the additional AREDS/AREDS2 formula supplement intake. However, the ICER of screening versus no screening was ¥9,846,411/QALY, which was beyond what people were willing to pay (WTP) in Japan. Sensitivity analysis revealed that neither OCT nor AI improved the ICER, but the scenario in which the prevalence of smoking decreased by 30% improved the ICER (¥4,655,601/QALY) to the level under the WTP. Conclusions: Ophthalmologic screening for AMD is highly effective in reducing blindness but is not cost-effective, as demonstrated by a Markov model based on real-world evidence from Japan.
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