Cataract Surgery Cost - Dallas/Fort Worth
After doing quite a bit of web research, I've determined that the average cost of cataract surgery in the U.S. is between $3300 - $3500 per eye. But sometimes the cost can be considerably more. It depends on the surgeon's practice, how much experience he has with the procedure, the side of town in which he practices, and the kind of lens implant the patient requests.
Since I have just had a cataract removed from my left eye in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I will summarize my costs so that you can have a basis for comparison. I am not old enough for Medicare; instead I have used my private insurance policy, which covers 80% of the costs, with 20% paid out-of-pocket by the patient.
The surgeon's fee was $2400, but the insurance company only covered him for $817. My surgery was done at a surgical center in the Mid-Cities area. My surgeon also practices in Northeast Tarrant County.
The surgical center charged about $1500 for the use of their facility and operating room. A $100 co-payment was due to the center on the day of surgery, with the rest to be billed.
Although I do not have my anesthesiologist's balance billing yet, I expect that his total bill will be about $50.
A Few Notes on Cost
Because I have astigmatism, my surgeon tried to correct that by performing limbal relaxing incisions (LRI) on my cornea while the cataract was being removed. This was included in his fee. If a patient was not satisfied with their refractive outcome, and later wanted the LRI done, I expect the procedure might cost a few hundred dollars.
Increasingly, it seems that cataract surgeons have anesthesiologists in the O.R. with them. It is common to have the patient undergo light IV sedation (also known as twilight sleep), in addition to the numbing drops put in their eye.
I do recommend the IV sedation. I remember next-to-nothing about the surgery, but I was awake, and in fact, responded a couple of times as directed by my surgeon.
But some people don't like or want the IV sedation. They want to be "at themselves" right after surgery, or they just don't react well to sedation. In that case, you could skip the anesthesiologist's fee, because he won't be necessary. The surgical team will simply apply topical sedation (lydocaine) to your eye, or in some cases, give you an injection, and that will be enough so you won't feel any pain during the procedure.
It is important to remember that prescription eye drops are required before surgery, and after surgery for weeks at a time.
My eye drops cost me about $60 (yes, with insurance).
Your cataract surgeon will also give you a post-surgery kit, with perhaps one additional type of eye drop, some samples of artificial tears, some tape and a shield to wear over your eye when you are asleep for the first week after surgery. This kit is usually included in the cost of surgery.
Cost of Intraocular Lens Implant
Medicare and almost any private insurance company will not only pay for the surgery; they will also pay for the cost of a standard monofocal lens implant. This is the type of implant that will be set for distance for your eye. Your distance vision will be quite good, but your near to intermediate vision will only be good if you wear reading glasses.
There are a number of other, more expensive choices. You can forget the standard lens implant and instead, go with a multifocal implant (ReStor, ReZoom, Tecnis) or an accommodating implant (Cystalens). I went into great detail about the cost of the Crystalens in a previous hub. Most insurance companies will not cover any of the cost of these advanced IOL's. You must make payment arrangements up-front with your surgeon's office, who will measure you for the lens and put in the order for it.
There is also the toric intraocular lens implant, which corrects medium to severe astigmatism. Unlike the premium lenses listed above, you may have some insurance coverage for the toric lens.
My surgeon's fee, anesthesiologist's fee, and surgical facility fee came to about $4400, of which, my insurance will pay $2717, and I will pay $543.
My prescriptions were $100, and I paid $3300 for my Crystalens.
So the total cost of my surgery is $7800, and my out-of-pocket cost for surgery in one eye is $3943. This is a greater-than average cost, but please take into account that I live in a large metropolitan area.
Photo of a human eye by drummp2 on flickr