The Burden of Macular Diseases in Central and Eastern Europe—Implications for Healthcare Systems



Despite the significant impact of retinal diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME), there is a limited understanding of how these conditions are managed in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).


To provide a comprehensive overview of the clinical and economic burden of wAMD and DME in CEE and the status quo associated with their management.


A narrative literature review was undertaken to identify existing data on wAMD and DME, including epidemiology, economic burden, clinical guidelines, and available and reimbursed treatments. Data were collected from relevant sources such as PubMed, ophthalmology associations, national statistical offices, and government agency websites; practical viewpoints were provided by local ophthalmologists and healthcare economics experts in CEE.


Epidemiological data on wAMD and DME are limited in CEE, and intercountry comparison is difficult because of differences in data collection methodologies. There are effective treatment options for wAMD and DME, and international guidelines advocate the use of intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections as first-line therapy. Local expert organizations broadly support these recommendations; nevertheless, no clinical practice guidelines exist on the treatment of wAMD and DME in CEE. Access to and reimbursement of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents vary significantly in the region and, as a result, many patients remain untreated or inadequately treated.


There is an urgent need for the creation of a wAMD/DME treatment program in CEE to ensure that patients have timely access to the most appropriate treatments.


Polona Jaki Mekjavić Vilma Jūratė Balčiūnienė Lala Ćeklić Jan Ernest Zuzana Jamrichova Zoltán Zsolt Nagy Iva Petkova Sławomir Teper Ivana Gardašević Topčić Miroslav Veith

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