Cataracts are a condition that commonly affects people as they age. Cataracts are clusters of proteins that cloud the lens of the eye. As cataracts grow, they can cause a number of symptoms that compromise the vision.
The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery. Cataract surgery replaces the affected lens with an artificial lens that restores clearer vision. Many people wonder how much cataract surgery costs. The cost of cataract surgery can vary from one patient to another. Here, Dr. Raul Peña, of Peña Eye Institute in Harlingen, TX, discusses the factors that affect the cost of cataract surgery for his eye care patients.
The Surgical Technique
One factor that has a large impact on the cost of cataract surgery is the technique used to perform the procedure. Patients can opt to undergo traditional cataract surgery or laser-assisted cataract surgery.
During a traditional cataract surgery procedure a scalpel is used to make a small circular incision in the cornea. An ultrasound probe is then used to break up the central part of the lens, so that the cataract can be removed. Traditional cataract surgery is more affordable than one that uses laser-assisted technology, but it is not as precise.
When our Harlingen patients undergo laser-assisted cataract surgery Dr. Peña uses ultrasound imaging to map out the surface of the eye. Using collected data, a computer-controlled laser makes an incision in the cornea and opens up the lens capsule so that an ultrasound probe can break down the cataract for removal. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more costly than the traditional surgical technique but it allows for greater control and precision.
The Type of Intraocular Lens
There are several different types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can be placed during cataract surgery. The most affordable IOL is a monofocal lens, which focuses the vision at one distance. The drawback of this type of lens is that it doesn’t accommodate for both close-up and distant vision, so patients who opt for a traditional monofocal IOL are likely to need prescription glasses. Dr. Peña offers several IOLs that are adjustable, to accommodate a complete range of vision. Although these lenses cost more, they often eliminate the need for prescription lenses, which make them a great long-term investment.
The Location and Experience of the Surgeon
As with any other service, the cost of cataract surgery can vary based on the location where the surgery is performed (large cities tend to have higher costs than smaller areas), and the experience of the surgeon. Individuals should be wary of any surgeon whose costs are significantly higher or lower than others in the area.
A final cataract surgery cost factor for our Harlingen patients is the type of insurance coverage they have. If a person has no insurance coverage they will be paying the entire cost of surgery out-of-pocket. Some insurance plans cover nearly the entire cost of cataract surgery, provided a patient opts for a traditional surgical technique and a monofocal IOL. Most often, our patients rely on insurance coverage to pay for a portion of cataract surgery costs, and then use personal credit or payment plans to cover the costs of upgrading to laser-assisted surgery and adjustable IOLs.
If you are interested in learning more about cataract surgery and how much it will cost to eliminate cataracts and restore clearer vision, the team at Peña Eye Institute would be happy to provide you with more information. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Raul Peña, send us a message online, or call (956) 264-1200.