Cataract surgery costs

We’ve researched the costs of cataract surgery for those with and without insurance so you don’t have to.

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The total cost of cataract surgery varies depending on the surgeon, the type of lens used and individual circumstances. Two of the biggest factors determining how much your procedure will cost are whether or not you have insurance and if you choose to have the procedure at a public or private hospital.

If you are uninsured, you can choose to have the procedure bulk billed at a public hospital or pay an average price of $2,500 per eye to have the procedure at a private hospital. If you have insurance, the cost of your procedure will depend on your level of cover.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind, only a qualified ophthalmologist will be able to tell you if you are eligible for cataract surgery. Prices vary based on individual circumstances.

Comparison of clinics that offer cataract surgery

Name Product No. of Laser Eye Surgeons Locations
personalEYES
personalEYES
16
Burwood, Canberra, Castle Hill, Dubbo, Epping, Liverpool, Morisset, Mudgee, Parramatta, Sydney CBD, Nowra, Penrith

Compare up to 4 providers

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are cloudy patches that form on the lens of the eye. A cataract blocks light from passing to the back of the eye, making it more difficult for a person to see clearly. While it is possible to have a cataract in one eye, they typically develop in both eyes.

Cataracts usually form due to ageing. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 31% of Australians over 55 and more than 70% of Australians over 80 have developed cataracts. They are more common in men than women. Risk factors include age, sun exposure, diabetes and cigarette smoking.

What is cataract surgery?

Along with laser eye surgery, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia.

Cataract surgery is used to treat cataracts that have advanced and are affecting a person's eyesight and quality of life. The surgery involves removing the clouded eye lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Depending on the surgeon and your individual circumstances, the procedure may be performed on both eyes at the same time or on one eye at a time with a few weeks for recovery in between procedures.

Quick facts about cataract surgery

Procedure time: 10 to 30 minutes per eye.
Anaesthetic type: Local anaesthesia.
Recovery time: Vision typically improves within a few days but full recovery takes 4 to 6 weeks.
Australian statistics:

Cost overview

Prices for cataract surgery vary based on the hospital, insurance cover, surgeon, lenses and individual circumstances. Your ophthalmologist will recommend the best procedure and lenses for your eyes depending on your health, needs and lifestyle. Some premium lenses can also be used to correct common refractive errors including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism, though they are more expensive than standard lenses.

Cover type Out-of-pocket costs Waiting period Can I choose my specialist?
Medicare Most public patients will pay nothing for cataract surgery, provided they use Medicare-approved lenses. If you want premium lenses, you will have to pay for the cost of the lenses. Cataract surgery covered by Medicare has a general waiting time of 6 to 18 months. No.
Private hospital cover You may have out-of-pocket costs depending on your level of cover, your excess, the hospital, the lens you choose and the amount your surgeon charges. The waiting period will depend on the surgeon’s availability. In many cases, the procedure can be performed more or less immediately. Yes.
Private hospital without cover The average cost for patients without insurance at private hospitals is around $2,500 per eye. The waiting period will depend on the surgeon’s availability. In many cases, the procedure can be performed more or less immediately. Yes.

Cost without insurance

If you don’t have insurance, you can choose to have your cataract surgery at a public or private hospital.

Cost with insurance

Every health insurance policy is different, and not all policies cover cataract surgery.

  • Policies that cover major eye surgery generally start at around $138.95 per month.

Make sure to check what is included in your policy before scheduling any procedures. If you do not already have insurance and want to take out a policy before your cataract surgery, keep in mind that a waiting period will likely apply.

  • Waiting periods typically range from a few months to one year.

Pensioners

Pensioners may be eligible for discounted surgery at private hospitals, depending on the hospital. Medicare will pay for a portion of the surgeon and anaesthetist fee. Seniors on the pension without insurance typically pay less than $2,000 per eye.
Find out the cost of laser eye surgery


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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KarlMay 18, 2019

    Are there any medications that someone is on that will prevent this procedure from happening?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaMay 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Karl,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Please note that we are a comparison website and general information service. Only a qualified ophthalmologist will be able to tell you if there is a medication to prevent Cataract surgery. It’s best to consult with a medical expert to give you a personalized answer regarding this matter.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  2. Default Gravatar
    AndrewMay 5, 2019

    Hi! I would like to know how much it cost for an eye laser. I’m on an age pension, is there any Medicare rebates? I’m 66 years old and my wife is 60 years old . Is there any discounts? Thank you for helping us with answers. Andrew

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 6, 2019Staff

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      The price depends on what type of eye laser procedure you wish to have. The amount ranges from $2,200–$6,200 depending on the procedure and hospital or surgeon who will conduct the treatment. You can check Laser eye surgery costs for more information.

      The discount will depend on the hospital where you wanted to have the treatment if they offer such for those who are on age pension. You can also reach out to Human Resources to check your eligibility on the rebate and how much can you get based on the procedure that you will have.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  3. Default Gravatar
    tonyFebruary 20, 2019

    Can pensioners still have cataract surgery free of charge in NSW? And approximately, what would be the waiting time?

    Thanks,
    Tony

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      I can’t find the exact answer to your question. However, our page mentioned that pensioners may be eligible for discounted surgery at private hospitals, depending on the hospital. Medicare will pay for a portion of the surgeon and anaesthetist fee. Seniors on the pension without insurance typically pay less than $2,000 per eye. Kindly reach out to your provider to obtain more info on cataract surgery.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    AniFebruary 6, 2019

    Hi,

    How much would cost for the visitor from overseas? I have no Medicare.

    Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Ani,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      If you are planning to have cataract surgery in Australia, it won’t matter whether you are from another country or not since the price would still remain the same. As our page mentioned, the cost starts at $2,500 per eye. It may be lower or higher, depending on your condition as well as where you will get your surgery done.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    ColleenNovember 19, 2018

    After Medicare contribution and pension, what is the cost for me?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Colleen,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As mentioned on this page, the total cost of cataract surgery varies depending factors such as the surgeon, the type of lens used and individual circumstances. I suggest that you speak to your ophthalmologist and insurer for the price as well as possible cost of the surgery for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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