cataract surgery cost

“Cataract surgery is a very common surgical procedure. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of having the surgery done in a private clinic and how much this option could cost you.”

Did you know that cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the developed world? Around 250,000 cataract procedures are performed every year in the UK alone.

It’s no surprise then that there are many clinics that offer cataract surgery using a variety of procedures and lenses to suit all kinds of patients.

The Cost Of Private Cataract Surgery

Here are the prices we have compiled for private cataract surgery. As mentioned before, cataract surgery prices are normally given in terms of the type of lens used. Please note that the price ranges given in this table include surgeon’s fees, cost of lens, clinic fees as well as any medication that may be required as part of aftercare, but do not include transportation and accommodation.

Type of lens used Cost per eye
Multifocal IOL £1,500 – £2,500
Multifocal IOL £3000 – £4,500
Multifocal LAL £6,000 – £8,000

Why Go Private?

Here are the reasons why you should consider going private if you need to undergo cataract surgery:

  1. Budget cuts in the NHS have led to the rationing of cataract operations

    The NHS is aiming to cut its costs down by £20 billion over the next four years. As many as two-thirds of the trusts in england are affected and as a result they are rationing treatments for conditions they regard as being non-urgent. Cataract operation are now being withheld from patients until their sight problems ‘substantially’ affect their ability to work. The new guidelines mean that people who fail to meet the standard set by the DVLA still don’t qualify for surgery even if their vision isn’t good enough for them to drive at night

  2. Going private means you can get treated at a time and place that are most convenient, and you can choose which surgeon you’d like to perform the operation
  3. You can choose which type of artificial lens to use, an option that’s not available on the NHS, which only offers monofocal lenses
  4. How Much Does Private Cataract Surgery Cost?

    Now that you know why private cataract surgery is a good idea, let’s get on to how much this option would cost you.

    First, let’s consider the factors that affect the cost of cataract surgery:

    1.The type of procedure performed

    There are four types of cataract surgical procedure. Here they are arranged from the least to the most expensive (top to bottom)

    Type of procedure What happens during the procedure
    Phacoemulsification This is the most common type of cataract surgery. The eye surgeon makes a tiny incision on the surface of the eye and inserts a thin ultrasound probe into the incision. The ultrasonic vibration break up and and dissolve the damaged lens. The tiny fragments of the old lens are sucked out and the artificial lens (also known as an intraocular lens or IO) is inserted into the capsular bag that the old lens contained
    Extracapsular This procedure is used in cases of advanced cataracts where the lens is too dense to dissolve into fragments. It involves
    making a larger incision in order to remove the damaged lens in one piece. Because of this, the procedure requires stitches and the recovery period is longer than phacoemulsification
    Intracapsular Rarely used except in extreme cases of trauma, this procedure requires an even larger incision in order to remove both the lens and the surrounding capsule and the intraocular lens is relocated in front of the iris
    Laser Treatment There are now a number of clinics that offer laser treatment which creates customised, bladeless and self sealing corneal incisions which minimise the possibility of leaking wounds and stitches

    2. The type of artificial lens used

    The artificial lenses used to replace the damaged lenses vary in price as well. In fact, private cataract surgery prices are usually specified according to the type of lens used. Here are the types of lenses arranged according to increasing cost from top to bottom

    Type of lens How it corrects vision
    Monofocal intraocular This is the traditional artificial lens used in cataract surgery. It provides vision at one distance only – near, far or intermediate. One disadvantage is that you’ll most likely have to wear spectacles or contact lenses in order to read or view a computer screen
    Multifocal intraocular lens Multifocal intraocular lenses are often refereed to as premium or added-value lenses as they are both multifocal and monofocal and accommodative which allow you to visualize objects at more than one distance, so you don’t need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses
    Multifocal light adjustable lenses (LALs) LALs are premium intraocular lenses for correcting problems such as presbyopia or astigmatism. They are multifocal and accomodative, meaning they allow you to visualize objects at more than one distance. Their best feature is that they can be digitally altered after the surgery to give you the exact visual power that you need

    When considering which type of lens to go for, please take note that if you have private health insurance, it’s likely that it will only cover the cost of the basic monofocal surgery as it is considered the standard level of care and medical treatment necessary. Private health insurance doesn’t normally stretch to the more expensive multifocal lens.

    What Is Cataract Surgery?

    A cataract is basically a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. This is due to a protein buildup that occurs with age. If left unattended, a cataract can turn into a debilitating condition as it can stop you from detecting movement and seeing everyday objects.

    Cataract surgery involves taking out the ‘damaged’ lens and replacing it with an artificial one. This may sound painful, but the procedure is actually quick, painless and safe. Cataract surgery is one of the few operations that can actually ‘turn back the clock’ as it can actually restore your eyesight to what it was decades ago.

    How much does cataract surgery cost on the NHS?

    Cataract surgery on the NHS is free for those whose sight is sufficiently impaired. However, the type of cataract surgery you would receive on the NHS would only remove the cataract and prevent blurred sight. If you also wanted to correct your vision to prevent short-sightedness or long-sightedness you would need to see a private surgeon who could fit an IOL that treats the refractive error. In the long run this could save you money and time as you would have both issues corrected in a single surgery.

    In Conclusion

    There is a very wide selection of private clinics in the UK offering cataract surgery. As we have reviewed, the price is dependent on the type of lens you require and the type of surgery undertaken. Of course geographical location also plays a role, with London generally being the most expensive place in the UK.

    The most important advice we can give to people seeking private cataract surgery is to shop around. It’s also good to remember that many clinics will offer a discount where should you require surgery for cataracts on both eyes.