How Much Does Cataract Surgery Cost?
Preparing for cataract surgery means learning about the procedure and knowing what to expect. That includes how much you’ll have to pay for it.
When to Consider Surgery
The lens of a healthy eye is clear. It's cloudy if you have a cataract. This can cause blurry vision, glare and sensitivity to light. Even babies can have cataracts, but most cataracts are age-related. As you get older, your risk of developing cataracts goes up.
Other risk factors for cataracts include:
- Eye injury or inflammation
- Heavy drinking
- High blood pressure
- Long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays
- Taking corticosteroids for a long time
Cataracts get worse over time, but this happens slowly. In the early stages, your doctor might change your glasses or contacts to help you see better. Once cataracts affect your ability to drive or perform normal daily activities, it's time to consider surgery. It's the only effective treatment for cataracts. A surgeon will remove the cloudy lens in your eye and replace it with a clear, artificial one.
Managing Cataract Surgery Cost With or Without Insurance
In the United States, cataract surgery costs an average of $2,700 per eye. That includes fees for surgery and anesthesia. The exact cost of your surgery will depend on where you live and where you have surgery.
Most private health insurance plans cover cataract surgery. Medicare covers the cost of cataract surgery as well. However, private plans and Medicare usually only cover it if you meet certain requirements. That could mean you would have to pay more if you choose to have the surgery before your vision is bad enough to meet these guidelines.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your options if you’re thinking about having cataract surgery before vision loss interferes with your daily life.
Even if your insurance plan covers cataract surgery, you may still have some costs. This will depend on your insurance plan. For instance, you might need to pay a certain amount if you're getting a special type of artificial lens. You might have a surgery co-payment or a deductible to satisfy. Be sure to check your plan’s specifics to know what part of your bill—if any—would be your responsibility.
If you don't have insurance:
- Talk with your surgeon about a payment plan. You may be able to spread the cost over time to make it fit in your budget.
- If you're still working, check into a flexible spending account. A set amount of money from each paycheck would go into a special account for healthcare costs. You can set aside up to $2,650 each year in this account. If you’re married, your spouse can put in the same amount. You don't pay income tax on this amount. That lets your money go farther. However, you usually have to use all or most of this money within one calendar year.