Wellness

How Much Does Cataract Surgery Cost Without Insurance in 2021?

Talor Bianchini01 Nov 2021

Cataract surgery is a corrective vision surgery that replaces the lens of your eye. Basic cataract surgery is typically covered under private insurance and Medicare, but add-ons can increase the out-of-pocket costs. On average, we found that laser-assisted cataract surgery costs $2,338.40 per eye. This cost can be affected by the type of lens replacement, the technology used, and the surgeon’s experience level. 

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The Cost of Cataract Surgery

We collected data from five different clinics around the United States to get a cost estimate of cataract eye surgery. On average, we found that laser-assisted cataract surgery costs $2,338.40 per eye. The cheapest option was found at Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic in Downriver Detroit, Michigan for only $1,195 per eye. 

The information in the table below was obtained directly from the clinic websites. The listed cost is only for the price of one eye, so you will face additional charges if you have cataracts in both eyes. This cost includes the surgeon, anesthesia, and consultation fees that are associated with the surgery. 

Cost of Cataract Surgery at Different Clinics & Locations

Clinic

Laser Cataract Surgery Cost Without Insurance (Per Eye)

NV Eye Surgery, Henderson, Nevada

$3,135

LA Sight, Los Angeles, California

$4,600

Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic, Downriver Detroit, Michigan

$1,195

Rochester Eye & Laser Center, Rochester, New York

$1,262

Moretsky Cassidy Vision Correction, Phoenix, Arizona

$1,500

Additional Costs of Cataract Surgery

One of the biggest additional costs associated with cataract surgery is the kind of intraocular lens (IOL) that your doctor determines is right for you. Almost every person who gets cataract surgery receives an IOL. A consultation appointment will occur before your surgery where an ultrasound will be utilized to determine the size and shape of your eye. 

Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of all types of lenses. It's important to discuss with your doctor what kind of lens is right for your lifestyle and your budget. When scheduling your surgery, make sure to ask for a full list of costs associated with the procedure so you do not face any surprise medical bills

Types of Intraocular Lenses (IOL) 

There are several types of IOLs that your doctor may suggest for your cataract surgery. These include:

  • Monofocal IOL: The most common type of lens used with cataract surgery. They are specifically used for close, medium-range, or distance vision. People typically need to use glasses for reading when using this type of lens.
  • Toric Lens: Toric lenses are utilized for patients who have pre-existing astigmatism, a condition in the eye that leads to blurred vision. This allows for both vision and astigmatism correction at the same time. The cost of a Toric IOL is typically covered by Medicare.
  • Multifocal IOL: This type of lens assists with both distance and near focus vision at the same time, and is best for those who struggle with multiple depths of vision impairment. They eliminate the need for any kind of eyeglasses.
  • Crystalens IOL: This is an accommodating lens, adjusting to the eye muscles for each person’s specific visual needs. The technology of the Crystalens IOL allows for a broader range of distances to be seen without the need for corrective glasses after surgery.

Typically, the monofocal lens will be the cheapest option for your cataract surgery. As the IOL becomes more advanced, there will be a higher cost associated with it. A multifocal lens tends to be the most expensive option, as it results in a restoration of the patient’s vision with no need for eyeglasses. On average, we found that multifocal lenses cost $3,096 per eye, which is 24 percent higher than the cost of a monofocal lens. 

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Below we compare the prices of the four aforementioned lens types at several different clinics. It is important to talk to your health care provider before getting cataract surgery to decide which type of lens is best for you.  

Cost Comparison of Intraocular Lenses for Cataract Surgery

Clinic

Cost of Monofocal IOL Per Eye

Cost of Toric IOL Per Eye

Cost of Multifocal IOL Per Eye

Cost of Crystalens IOL Per Eye

NV Eye Surgery, Henderson, Nevada

$3,135

$3,035

N/A

N/A

LA Sight, Los Angeles, California

$4,600

N/A

N/A

N/A

Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic, Downriver Detroit, Michigan

$1,195

$1,535

$2,400

$2,360

Rochester Eye & Laser Center, Rochester, New York

$1,262

$2,322

$3,138

N/A

Moretsky Cassidy Vision Correction, Phoenix, Arizona

$1,500

$2,700

$3,750

N/A

Factors that Influence the Cost of Cataract Surgery

There are several factors that can influence the cost of your cataract surgery in addition to the type of IOL your doctor opts to use. Some of these factors include:

  • Geographic location: As seen in the charts above, geography impacts the cost of cataract surgery. The most expensive clinic was located in Los Angeles, California, while the least expensive clinic was located in Rochester, New York. Typically, healthcare-related services cost less in rural areas than urban ones. This may be a factor to consider when scheduling a cataract surgery.
  • Type of technology used: There are different types of technology that can be used during cataract surgery. The survey can be performed with a laser or with a blade. Typically, cataract surgery performed with a laser will be more expensive than surgery performed with a blade. Standard cataract surgery at NV Eye Surgery in Henderson, Nevada costs $2,000 per eye, while the laser version costs $3,000 per eye. If you are looking to have the entire cost of your cataract surgery covered by insurance, standard cataract surgery may be the best choice financially, even though it may not restore your vision completely.
  • Surgeon experience: Previous experience from your cataract surgeon will most likely cause an increase in the price of your procedure. Newer surgeons may charge lower prices for the surgery; however, they may have less experience than a more expensive surgeon. For example, Dr. Byrd at Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic in Michigan has performed over 17,000 cataract surgeries to date. So although his prices may be more than other competitors, it may be worth the extra fees.
  • Severity of cataracts: The severity of your cataracts can affect the cost of your surgery as well. For starters, the severity of your cataracts will determine the type of IOL you will need during your procedure, which as seen above, can increase the cost of the procedure. In addition, insurance or Medicare may only cover the cost of the surgery if your eyes are tested at a certain level of clarity.
  • Length of postoperative care: The cost of cataract surgery listed in the charts above includes the cost of postoperative care as well, although the length of care may vary between clinics. Typically cataract surgery requires between 60-90 days of postoperative care. If you require any additional care, this will come at an additional cost to your initial procedure fees, and most likely will not be covered by insurance.

Cataract Surgery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you are looking into getting cataract surgery, you may have additional questions before booking your procedure. We answer some commonly asked questions about cataracts below. 

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What are cataracts?

A cataract is when the main lens of the eye has a cloudy film, impairing one’s vision. Cataracts typically develop over time and don’t always affect your vision right away. Eyeglasses and lighting can help in the beginning, but eventually, surgery may be the only option to improve your vision. In addition to cloudy vision, some additional symptoms you may experience are double vision in one eye, frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, or fading of colors. 

What are the main causes of cataracts?

Cataracts can be caused by a wide variety of factors, like genetic conditions or previous eye surgeries like LASIK. Age typically has an effect on the formation of cataracts, as it causes the fibers in the lens of the eye to break down and clump together. There are several risk factors to developing cataracts as well, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight

Does cataract surgery restore 20/20 vision?

If your doctor selects the IOL that is most beneficial for you, there is a high chance you can restore 20/20 vision. However, this is more likely with an advanced IOL, rather than a monofocal lens. Those who opt for a standard cataract procedure have a 30 to 50 percent chance of needing corrective lenses after their surgery. 

What are the disadvantages of cataract surgery?

Although cataract surgery has many benefits, there are risks to any surgery. Following the surgery, there could be itching or inflammation in the cornea. The surgeon may also not be successful in removing the entirety of the cataract tissue, which may make a second surgery necessary. This is why it is important to find a well-equipped and experienced surgeon. 

What is the success rate of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is known for being highly safe and effective. Complications are very rare, and the success rate is somewhere close to 99 percent. Risk increases as the surgery are delayed. As long as the cataracts are caught early, the chance for success is very high. 

Does private insurance and Medicare cover cataract surgery? 

The total cost of basic cataract eye surgery is normally covered by insurance and Medicare Part B since it is typically deemed a medically necessary procedure. For this reason, most clinics do not disclose the price of surgery on their website, making it difficult to find a comprehensive out-of-pocket cost. 

Cataract surgery is most common in individuals over the age of 65, which makes a patient eligible for Medicare. Medicare covers 80 percent of the cost for standard cataract surgery, requiring the other 20 percent to be paid by the patient once their deductible has been met for the year. Additional costs and services associated with the surgery will not be covered under the plan.

Bottom Line 

Cataract surgery is a highly successful corrective vision surgery that removes cataracts from the eye. The procedure is typically covered by insurance or Medicare for those that qualify, but the out-of-pocket costs can increase because of many factors. The average cost of laser-assisted cataract surgery is $2,338.40 per eye without insurance. This cost is affected by the intraocular lens used, geographic location, the experience of the surgeon, and more. 

Eye exams, eyeglasses, and other vision related expenses can add up without insurance. Affordable healthcare can be hard to find, but Mira makes it easy. For only $45 per month, Mira members get access to low-cost urgent care visits, up to 80% off on over 1,000 different prescriptions, and same-day lab testing. Sign up for Mira today.