How much does Cataract surgery cost?

Cataract surgery, which is also known as lens replacement surgery, is the removal of the natural lens of the eye or known as the crystalline lens. Cataracts of the eye develop as a result of the metabolic changes of the crystalline lens fibers of the eyes over some time. During cataract surgery, you may or may not have a new artificial lens placed in your eye, called an intraocular lens. According to the WHO, the annual number of cataract surgeries performed globally has increased from 5 million in 1998 to over 15 million by 2008, and it is still increasing.

Why is cataract surgery done?

Cataracts have several symptoms that develop over time, such as blurred vision, decreased sensitivity to color identification, and double vision. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see an eye doctor as soon as possible to make sure your vision is not permanently damaged.

Having a cataract does not always mean that it has to be operated on, as one might not even feel any change in the vision. However, if this condition is kept unchecked, it can develop into serious conditions over time as one will have blurred vision, and sometimes even double vision. 

Poor night vision can also be a symptom of cataracts, and some people also become very sensitive to glares from the headlights. As the unchecked condition worsens, it leads to difficulty even from the glare from the sun as one can develop bright halos around bright lights.  Any of these conditions which become prolonged must be informed to the eye surgeon/specialist. The doctor will first prepare you to go through a set of checkups, and if necessary, the specialist will advise for an operation. 

What happens during Cataract surgery?

Before the cataract surgery-

  • The doctor will first perform a painless ultrasound test to measure the shape and size of the eye which will help determine the size and type of lens(intraocular lens). 
  • Generally, all the patients will be given an IOL which will help to improve the vision by focusing the light on the back of your eye. The patient does not feel any sensation or vision of the lens and it becomes a permanent part of the eye.
  • You must discuss with your surgeon what types of IOL (intraocular lens) are available, and which one would be suitable for you. One of the reasons for the variation in the cost of the cataract surgery is the type of IOL lens one chooses; some insurance companies may not pay for every type of IOLs.

What is an IOL?

An IOL (intraocular lens) is a lens made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic which blocks UV rays and is flexible. The IOL is inserted through a small incision that requires few or no stitches. There are various types of intraocular lenses including a fixed focus monofocal lens, accommodating focus monofocal lens, and multifocal lenses.

During the surgery, the surgeon folds the IOL and inserts it into the empty capsule where the natural lens used to be. Once it gets inside the eye, it unfolds itself and becomes just like the natural lens. 

  • The doctor will put eye drops to dilate the pupil and you will receive local anesthesia to numb the area. You’ll also be given sedatives to help you relax.
  • The clouded lens will be removed and the IOL will be placed if necessary. Some patients can complete the surgery without implanting an artificial lens.
  • The tiny incision made in the front of the eye to remove the cataract is called phacoemulsification.
  • A thin needle-like probe is inserted through this hole which transmits ultrasound waves. This helps break off the cataract and suctions out the remaining fragments. Sometimes stitches may be used to close the incision.
  • A cataract is also removed by extracapsular extraction which is however done rarely.

Is cataract surgery risky?

There are risks with any surgery, and only your doctor can help you determine if surgery is right for you. Some of the risks of cataract surgery include:

  • Swelling or an eye infection, which must be immediately informed to the surgeon.
  • Bleeding.
  • Retinal detachment.
  • Rise in eye pressure 12-24 hours post-surgery.
  • Vision loss.
  • Flashing of lights in front of the eyes or multiple new spots.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

Typically, you can start working 3-4 days after the surgery is conducted. You will have to avoid driving for a couple of days and will only be able to drive if you can read a registration plate from a distance of 20 feet. This is usually the case 2-3 days after surgery.

How much does Cataract surgery cost?

So, what is the cost of cataract surgery? A standard cataract surgery cost that is insured will be around $3,500 with the medical coverage of $2,800. The patients have to pay any out of pocket price of $700. Thus the patients will have to pay a total of $883 for the surgery.

In the USA the average basic cataract laser surgery cost can range from $3,600 to $6,000 per eye. For an advanced technology applied to the eyes, an additional cost of $500-$1000 adds up on every eye. The multifocal lens costs more as there is an addition of $1,400 to $5,000 over the basic cost. The Estimated National Average for bladeless cataract surgery is $8,083, and physicians use CPT code 66984.

Why does the cost of a cataract surgery differ?

There are various reasons why the cost of a cataract/ bladeless cataract surgery cost varies. The part of the country where the surgery is performed, whether it is performed in an out-patient surgery center or a hospital. The type of lens you choose also matters while deciding the cost. There are two types of premium IOLs-toric IOLs are used to correct astigmatism whereas the refractive IOLs are used to correct presbyopia. The additional cost of cataract surgery with the toric IOLs is $1,500. Refractive IOLs are quite expensive and it costs around $2,500.   The cost of cataract surgery also depends on whether your physician uses a laser or a knife during surgery.

Choose ZeaMed

If you need cataract surgery, check ZeaMed first. You can search for all the cataract surgeons in your area and see their real price for their services. It’s the easiest way to save money on cataract surgery!


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