Cataract Surgery Cost – Overview
Cataract surgery is a commonly performed eye surgery worldwide. However, it can be pretty expensive, especially if not covered under your insurance plan.
Without Medicare or private insurance to cover the cost, you may end up paying anywhere between US$ 3,000 and US$ 6,000 for each eye.
Conventional mono-focal cataract surgery is covered by private insurance or Medicare.
However, you still need to pay other expenses, such as medication costs, copayments, and your annual deductible.
The specific cost of cataract surgery depends on the type of lens, additional underlying tissues, and the surgical technique used.
It is highly recommended that you talk to your eye surgeon before scheduling the surgery to learn about the specific out-of-pocket expenses for cataract surgery.
Next, it is essential to speak with your Medicare or insurance representative and confirm the particular costs the insurance plan will cover.
This article breaks down cataract surgery costs relating to specific lenses used, the surgical technique, and any pre-existing eye condition.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is an eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist to remove a cloudy, damaged eye lens. Usually, healthy lenses are clear, whereas damaged eye lenses tend to turn cloudy.
The damaged eye lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens during the surgery.
Cataracts are caused mainly by the aging of the crystalline lens. Gradually, a yellow-brown pigment within the lens gets collected within.
On top of this, there are changes in the lens fiber structure due to aging. This causes less light to enter the lens, ultimately developing a cataract.
What is the Average Cost of Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is covered by Medicare and private insurance providers except for specific costs relating to the surgeon, the lens and surgical technique.
Apart from this, you will also pay certain out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments, and medication costs.
Without health insurance cover, the cost of cataract surgery for both eyes can be as high as US$ 6,000 to US$ 12,000 in the US.
Most ophthalmologists offer payment plans if you have significant out-of-pocket expenses.
For this, you can use your health savings account (HSA). Besides this, credit cards also offer reductions for certain medical costs.
It is advisable to reach out to your insurance representative to check your eligibility for this.
In short, you may end up paying around US$ 3,000 to US$ 5,000 per eye for conventional cataract surgery.
On the other hand, laser-assisted cataract surgeries with advanced lens implants can cost anywhere between US$ 4,000 to US$ 6,000 per eye.
This cost includes the charges for implantation, surgery, consumable medical equipment along with technical fees.
What are the different types of Cataract Surgeries?
There are four main techniques used to perform a successful cataract eye surgery.
#1. Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery – It is the most commonly used cataract surgery technique worldwide.
This is combined with a conventional cataract surgical procedure and is covered by Medicare and private health insurance carriers.
In this cataract eye surgery, an incision is made in the eye to place a tiny ultrasound device within it. This emits focused sound waves to disintegrate the damaged, cloudy eye lens into small pieces.
The bits of the lens are then carefully removed from the eye using gentle suction. Next, an artificial lens is implanted into the capsule to replace the damaged, cloudy lens.
#2. Extracapsular Cataract Surgery – Another form of cataract surgery is extracapsular cataract extraction. This is less commonly used and requires the surgeon to make a larger incision in the eye to remove the damaged lens without breaking it.
After removing the damaged lens, the surgeon will carefully implant the new lens. Finally, the incision is closed using stitches or sutures.
#3. Intracapsular Cataract Extraction – This cataract extraction involves removing the damaged lens and capsule using a large incision in the eyeball. This is a rarely performed eye surgery and may result in several complications.
#4. Laser-Assisted Cataract Eye Surgery – Last but not least is laser-assisted cataract eye surgery. It requires using optical coherence tomography.
This is the latest cataract surgery technique but isn’t covered by all insurance providers or Medicare. The reason is that this technique is new to the market and not many ophthalmologists are trained in it yet.
This technique involves making precise incisions in the capsule and cornea using a thin laser beam. The laser softens the cataract and disintegrates it into smaller pieces.
These pieces are then removed before being replaced with an artificial lens.
Cataract eye surgery is essential to restore vision in the affected eye.
This procedure has lesser risks, side effects, and complications. However, you still need to consult your surgeon to determine which cataract surgery technique is best-suited for your case.
Ask about cataract surgery coverage with your Medicare or private insurance representative before deciding to undergo surgery.