Elicitation of utilities from those who do not have the health condition of interest generally uses verbal description of health states. This paper reports on the results of a small-scale investigation on the feasibility of an alternative approach, where health states are simulated and thus directly experienced by respondents. Three visual impairment health states were simulated using plastic spectacles, and were evaluated using the time trade-off. The first group of respondents (n = 19) found it difficult to assess visually impaired health states without referring to their own current health. With a further group of respondents (n = 14), we investigated the use of the respondents’ current health as the upper anchor of the time trade-off. Regression analysis shows that whilst there is a positive effect (p = 0.05) of the respondent’s own health state on the values from the first group, there is a non-significant negative effect (p = 0.36) on the values from the latter group with this revised method. Thus, it is feasible to simulate visual impairment in valuation exercises, but care must be taken to ensure what health state is effectively being valued
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