Ready-made and custom-made eyeglasses in India: A cost-effectiveness analysis of a randomised controlled trial

Blake Angell, Ferhina Ali, Monica Gandhi, Umang Mathur, David S. Friedman, Stephen Jan, Lisa Keay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective Ready-made spectacles have been suggested as a less resource-intensive treatment for the millions of people living with uncorrected refractive error (URE) in low-income environments. In spite of this interest, there have been no published economic evaluations examining the cost-effectiveness of ready-made spectacles. This study aims to determine the relative cost-effectiveness of offering ready-made spectacles (RMS) relative to no intervention as well as the relative cost-effectiveness of custom-made spectacles (CS) relative to RMS to treat URE. Methods and analysis The relative cost-effectiveness of RMS relative to CS and no intervention was tested through a cost-effectiveness analysis from the health service provider perspective conducted alongside a double-masked randomised controlled trial in an urban hospital in Delhi, India. Participants were adults aged 18-45 years with ≥1 dioptre (D) of URE. Results There was no significant difference between the effectiveness of the CS and RMS interventions in improving visual acuity, but the CS was over four times the price of the RMS per patient (204 INR (US$2.42) and 792 INR (US$11.22)). The cost per unit improvement in logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) relative to baseline with the RMS intervention was 407 INR (US$4.35). Existing estimates of utility resulting from improvements in visual acuity result in incremental cost per quality-adjusted life years gained of between 212 INR and 1137 INR (US$0.44-US$23.74) depending on the source of the utility estimate and assumed expected life of the spectacles. Conclusion RMS represent a significantly cost-effective option for spectacle provision in low-resource settings. The RMS programme was substantially cheaper than an equivalent CS intervention while being effective in improving visual acuity for the majority of adults with refractive error in this setting. These findings provide further support for including RMS in programmes to address URE. Trial registration number NCT00657670, Results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000123
JournalBMJ Open Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • optics and refraction
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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