Cost of Cataract Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Cost of Cataract Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Costs of Cataracts

There are some common questions asked about the cost of cataract surgery. They include:

  • Is cataract surgery covered by Medicare?
  • How much is cataract surgery without insurance?
  • How much does cataract surgery cost?
  • How much is laser cataract surgery?

Let’s talk about each of these categories to help you understand the costs associated with cataract surgery.

Is cataract surgery covered by Medicare and other medical insurance companies?

Some people think that a cataract is a vision problem and therefore should be covered under their vision insurance. This is incorrect. Cataract is a medical problem and therefore cataract surgery is a covered procedure under Medicare and other medical insurance plans. To be covered by insurance the cataract needs to be causing symptoms that are interfering with your daily activities. Your medical insurance will pay for the cataract procedure with the standard co-pay and deductibles applied.

How much is cataract surgery without insurance?

At NV Eye Surgery we offer cataract surgery at competitive pricing, usually $1000 less expensive than any other clinic in Las Vegas or Henderson for cash pay cataract surgery. We are able to do this because our surgeries are done in our office-based surgery suite. This is significantly less expensive than a surgery done in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Our fee includes 90 days of post-operative care. Packages with special lenses such as a toric IOL or multifocal IOL have additional costs.

What is laser-assisted cataract surgery?

The newest technology used with cataract surgery is laser-assisted surgery. With this technology a laser is used to make the incisions, break up the cataract for easier removal, and treat any existing astigmatism. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more expensive due to the technology behind the laser equipment. The laser makes detailed maps of the eye and incisions with a precision of less than a hundredth of a millimeter. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is a great option for people interested in achieving the best vision with the most effective technology.

How can I save money with cataract surgery?

If you have a tight budget and are looking for ways to save money with your surgery there are a few options to consider. One useful way to save money is with “Dropless” cataract surgery. With dropless surgery an antibiotic and a steroid medication are inserted into the eye after the procedure. With this technique no post-operative eye drop medications are required. This may save anywhere from $45 to $300 depending on your insurance plan. Another consideration would be to have both eyes done on the same day; this is called bilateral sequential cataract surgery. If you had planned on surgery in both eyes this will save up to 25% for the procedures. Finally, as mentioned above, if you have a high deductible then using our office-based surgery suite can save up to $500 per surgery. Please call our office if you are interested in more details.

What options with cataract surgery may have an additional cost?

Medicare and other health plans will cover cataract surgery. This coverage includes the surgeon fee, the anesthesia fee, and the facility fee. New technologies often offered with cataract surgery to enhance the vision are not covered by health insurance and add some additional cost to the procedure. Extra services can include…

  • Laser-assisted cataract surgery
  • Astigmatism correction with a Toric lens implant
  • Multifocal IOL lens implants to improve the range of vision without glasses
  • Astigmatism correction with limbal relaxing incisions of the cornea with a blade or laser
  • ORA technology for improving IOL power accuracy with lens implantation

Should I consider paying for extra services with my cataract procedure?

Some cataract surgeons market new technology such as multifocal lens implants as being better than standard monofocal lenses and their support staff encourage people to pay extra for these services. The reality is that multifocal or extended depth of focus lenses are NEWER technology, but they are not necessarily BETTER technology. Each lens has positive and negative aspects. While the multifocal IOL has a better range of focus, and less need for reading glasses, the trade off with these lenses is some glare at night and reduced contrast with certain lighting situations. For some people who want to avoid reading glasses, this trade off is better. But for people who don’t mind wearing reading glasses, a monofocal IOL may actually give sharper and clearer vision. Before you plan on spending more for your surgery, it is important to take time to decide what is important for you and how your needs can best be served with each lens option.

Panoptix Multifocal IOL FDA Approved in 2020

NV Eye Surgery and Dr. Peter DeBry are excited to offer the Alcon Panoptix lens as a premium lens choice for patients in Henderson and Las Vegas seeking cataract surgery. The Panoptix lens is the first multifocal lens approved by the FDA with 3 focal points, allowing patients to do more tasks without glasses than any other Intraocular lens (IOL) on the market! During cataract surgery an IOL is inserted to replace the cloudy lens that was removed. Conventional monofocal IOL’s have a single focal point, providing clear vision at only one distance. Therefore, people with monofocal IOL’s require glasses for many daily activities. For example, if an IOL is set for distance vision, then glasses are required for computer work and reading. Multifocal IOL’s have special optics that allow them to focus light at more than one distance. Most Multifocal IOL’s on the market have 2 focal points. With 3 focal points the Panoptix lens allows people to see more clearly at more distances without glasses. Multifocal IOL’s do have some tradeoffs to be aware of. A multifocal IOL causes some glare or halos when driving at night and slightly reduces the contrast. These lenses should only be implanted in eyes that are completely healthy and without any eye diseases. Multifocal lenses are not covered by Medicare or other insurance companies and add additional cost to cataract surgery fees.

In their response to questions in a clinical study with the PanOptix® Lens:

  • 99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would choose the same lens again
  • 98% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would recommend it to family and friends
  • When asked how often they needed eyeglasses to see in the last seven days, 80.5% of people with the PanOptix® Lens reported that they never used them and 11.4% reported that they rarely used them

What is the Vivity lens (IOL) and what are the potential benefits of this lens?

The Vivity lens is a new artificial lens (IOL) available for patients having cataract surgery. Just like there are different models and manufacturers of cars and refrigerators, there are different models and manufacturers of Intraocular lenses. The Vivity IOL is designed to give your eye a better range of focus compared to a standard monofocal IOL that is only focused at a single distance. The Vivity lens is considered an Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) lens. The benefit of an EDOF lens is a better range of focus which will help you to see more things without glasses. As compared with a multifocal IOL the Vivity lens will have less negative side effects such as glare and halos around lights at night. The Vivity lens may not focus as close as the Panoptix lens so you may still need glasses for some near tasks such as reading small print. The Vivity lens is considered a high technology IOL so there is an extra cost for this lens that your medical insurance will not cover.

Situation Panoptix Vivity
Near Vision +++ +
Intermediate Vision +++ +++
Distance Vision +++ +++
Glare or Halos at night some minimal

How to choose between the Panoptix and Vivity lenses with cataract surgery?

If you are interested in a high technology IOL designed to give you a better range of vision than the standard monofocal IOL, then you have two great options with the Vivity or Panoptix lenses. In general we recommend the Panoptix lens for all patients with a healthy eye who are willing to adapt to some glare and halos at night. The Panoptix IOL is a true trifocal lens which gives you good focus at near, intermediate, and distance. If your eye is not perfectly healthy and has mild medical conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or macular pucker/ERM then the Vivity lens may be a better option for you. The Vivity lens is also the best lens for patients who have glare as one of their main cataract complaints. The Vivity lens does not reduce contrast or give significant glare as a side effect of the lens optics, making it ideal for many patients. The near vision with the Vivity IOL does not focus in as close as the Panoptix lens so glasses may be needed for small print.

For more information about the Panoptix Lens Click Here.

Click here to request more information or to schedule an appointment for a cataract surgery evaluation.