The purpose of this study was to estimate the total healthcare cost associated with DR in the population aged 18 years and older in Hungary, and its projection for the year 2045.

A cost model was developed based on the standardised rapid assessment of avoidable blindness with the diabetic retinopathy module (RAAB+DRM) methodology and recently reported prevalent-based cost of illness model. Projection for 2045 was made based on the estimation for increasing DM prevalence of the International Diabetes Federation.

The total DR-associated healthcare cost was US$145.8 million in 2016 and will increase to US$169.0 million by 2045. The two major cost drivers were intravitreal anti vascular endothelial growth factor injections and vitrectomies in this study (US$126.4 million in 2016 and US$146.5 million in 2045); they amounted to 86.7% of the total treatment cost of DR. The DR-related cost per patient was US$180.5 in Hungary.

The study concluded that the cost per patient for treating DR was lower in Hungary than in other countries. Due to the increasing socioeconomic burden of proliferative DR and diabetes-related blindness, it would be important to invest in DR screening, prevention and early treatment. Our new RAAB-based cost of DR model may facilitate comparisons of DR treatment costs across countries.