Accounting for patient preferences may be especially important in diabetes mellitus, given the challenge in identifying factors associated with treatment adherence. Although preference studies have been performed in diabetes, none have examined treatments used in diabetic retinopathy (DR). The objective of this study was to elicit patient preferences for attributes associated with antivascular endothelial growth factor, focal and panretinal laser, and steroid therapy used in DR management.
A cross-sectional conjoint survey was administered to DR patients at three Canadian eye centers. The survey involved making tradeoffs among 11 DR treatment attributes, including the chance of improving vision and risks of adverse events over a 1-year treatment period. Attribute utilities were summed for each product profile to determine the most preferred treatment.
Based on the results from 161 patients, attributes affecting visual functioning, including improving visual acuity and reducing adverse events (eg, chance of cataracts), were more important than those not directly affecting vision (eg, administration). Overall, 52%, 20%, 17%, and 11% preferred the product profiles matching to the antivascular endothelial growth factor, steroid, focal laser, and panretinal laser therapies. Preferences did not vary substantially by previous treatment experience, age, or type of DR (macular edema, proliferative DR, both or neither), with the exception that more macular edema only patients preferred focal laser over steroid treatment (19% versus 14%, respectively).
When considering the potential effects of treatment over a 1-year period, treatment preferences in DR are most influenced by those that may positively or negatively affect visual functioning.