Willingness to pay for potential enhancements to a low-cost cataract surgical package in rural southern China

Fang Ko, Kevin D. Frick, Jonathan Tzu, Mingguang He, Nathan Congdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess determinants of patients' willingness to pay (WTP) for potential components of a multi-tiered cataract surgical package offered by a non-governmental organization (NGO) in rural China. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Demographic and clinical data were collected from 505 patients presenting for cataract screening or surgery in Yangjiang, China. Willingness to pay for potential enhancements to the current surgery package was assessed using a bidding format with random payment cards. Results: Among 426 subjects (84.4%) completing interviews, the mean age was 73.9 ± 7.3 years, 67.6% were women and 73% (n = 310) would pay for at least one offering, with 33-38% WTP for each item. Among those who would pay, the mean WTP for food was US$1.68 ± 0.13, transportation US$3.24 ± 0.25, senior surgeon US$50.0 ± 3.36 and US$89.4 ± 4.19 for an imported intra-ocular lens (IOL). The estimated total recovery from these enhancements under various assumptions would be US$20-50 (compared to the current programme price of US$65). In multivariate models, WTP for the senior surgeon increased with knowledge of a person previously operated for cataract (OR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.42-3.18, p < 0.001). Willingness to pay for the imported IOL increased with knowledge of a previously operated person (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.24-2.75, p < 0.01) and decreased with age >75 years (OR = 0.61, 0.40-0.93, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Opportunities exist to increase cataract programme revenues through multi-tiered offerings in this setting, allowing greater subsidization of low-income patients. Personal familiarity with cataract surgery is important in determining WTP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e54-e60
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • China
  • cataract
  • rural
  • surgery
  • willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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