A recent study has estimated the annual cost of inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) in the United States and Canada from a societal perspective. This includes the cost to the health care system, human productivity costs, lost wellbeing and other societal economic costs. Costs were estimated using cost-of-illness methodology which is based on the prevalence of IRDs. Costs like reduced wellbeing were estimated using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs: a measurement of the burden of a disease expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health or disability). DALYs were then converted to monetary values using the current value of a statistical life. The costs attributed to IRDs in the US and Canada were estimated to be up to US $31.7 billion and CAN $1.6 billion respectively for a single year. IRDs in the US and Canada have a substantial cost. More research into current and cost-effective therapies and interventions is needed to reduce this economic burden on affected individuals and society in general.
What this means for Usher syndrome: This recent study demonstrates the need for more funding to be allocated to IRDs including Usher syndrome. The cost of IRDs in the US and Canada are high. More funding into therapies and treatments is needed to reduce the burden on individuals and families affected by IRDs.