OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to estimate costs and quality of life (QoL) of late-stage glaucoma patients in 4 European countries. METHODS: Retrospective review of medical charts of patients with POAG who were followed in a low-vision or vision rehabilitation center in one of 4 countries for at least 1 year was used to determine patient characteristics, health status, and health care resource use. Visual impairment was measured by best-corrected visual acuity (Snellen score). Patients were also interviewed over the telephone in order to assess their health-related QoL (using EuroQol EQ-5D) and use of resources including: the number of visits to rehabilitation centers, visits to hospital and non-hospital specialists, the use of low-vision devices, medication, tests, and the use of hired home help. The costs associated with resource use were calculated from the perspective of a third-party payer of health and social care based on resource usage and unit costs in each country. RESULTS: Patients undergoing visual rehabilitation in France (n=21), Denmark (n=59), Germany (n=60), and the United Kingdom (n=22) were identified, interviewed and had their medical charts reviewed. Annual maintenance costs of late-stage glaucoma amounted to euro830 (+/-445) on average. Average home help costs were more than 3 times higher. QoL, on average, was 0.65 (+/-0.28). QoL was positively correlated with the level of visual acuity in the patients' best eye. On the other hand, visual acuity was also positively correlated to health care costs, but negatively correlated to costs of home help. CONCLUSIONS: The study was limited by its observational, uncontrolled design. The finding that late-stage glaucoma is associated with higher home help costs than health care maintenance costs suggests that potential savings from a better preventive treatment are to be found for social care payers rather than health care payers.