6 Factors That Affect the Cost of Cataract Surgery in Singapore
As we age, our bodies deteriorate, and many health issues arise. One of the organs often affected by ageing is our eyes. Did you know that vision begins to change early in midlife? After that, it gradually and continuously declines.
Many eye problems may arise from there, including cataracts and cloudy areas in the eye’s lens. Cataracts affect approximately 80 percent of people over 60 and 95 percent of those over 70 in Singapore.
Furthermore, cataracts may form when protein builds up in the lens, preventing light from passing through clearly. As a result, you may experience visual disturbances, such as blurry, hazy, or foggy vision.
While cataracts indicate an ageing eye, it is encouraging to know that a surgeon can remove them through cataract surgery. You should consider surgery when cataracts keep you from doing your everyday tasks, or your vision problem is taking a toll on your work.
Fortunately, modern cataract surgery promises a long-term solution to cataracts, and by finding a trained eye doctor, you can prevent blindness.
When looking for a doctor, one of the common questions patients ask is the cataract surgery cost in Singapore. But it’s more important to know about the common factors that can affect the procedure’s price range. This blog will shed light on these factors and how they influence cataract surgery costs.
1. Type of cataract surgery
The cost of cataract surgery in Singapore depends on the procedure to be performed.
Patients can choose between Phacoemulsification surgery and laser-assisted surgery. Both these procedures effectively remove cataracts, but laser-assisted surgery uses a camera and ultrasound imaging equipment to map the eye’s surface and collect data from the lens. However, additional costs may be associated with this procedure, though not necessarily the outcome of the surgery. Meanwhile, Phacoemulsification cataract surgery is less expensive and is usually covered by most insurance plans in Singapore.
Generally, the more complicated a procedure is, the more expensive it is.
2. Type of intraocular lens
To improve your vision, the doctor will insert an intraocular lens (IOL), an artificial lens that helps focus light onto the retina. It also contains a special coating to help protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The surgery cost will also depend on the type of intraocular lens chosen. For example, you may select among mono-focal, toric, multifocal, trifocal, extended-depth-of-focus (EDOF), or Eyhance IOL.
But how do doctors determine lens pricing? First, the lens price will depend on the material and type. For example, monofocal IOLs are the most affordable lenses, which can focus the vision at one distance. The only drawback of this traditional lens is that it can only accommodate some near and distant visions.
Expensive lenses correct focus and other eye problems like astigmatism and presbyopia. Conversely, modern IOLs can help patients accommodate a complete range of vision. Even though these lenses are more expensive, they may eliminate the need for prescription glasses in the long run.
All these factors influence the price of intraocular lenses. Then, depending on the patient’s eye condition and needs, the eye surgeon can recommend a suitable IOL.
Meanwhile, the trained doctor will perform more complex lens calculations completed before surgery. Again, sophisticated diagnostic machines are needed to do this. It’s recommended for patients who have undergone previous refractive surgery, have high astigmatism, high myopia or hyperopia, and those who will undergo cataract surgery.
Read: Refractive Options During Cataract Surgery
3. Complexity of cataract surgery
The more complex the cataract surgery, the more costly because more time, effort, and expertise are needed to succeed.
For example, complex cataracts may mean that access to the lens is difficult or the cataract has become more mature or unstable. In addition, this type of cataract is harder to treat because it may require more time and instrumentation to remove the cataract.
4. Length of post-surgery care
Follow-up consultations are an essential part of the surgery. If the surgery has no complications or problems, you will not spend more on treating these health problems. But, on the other hand, any difficulties can mean more hospital stay days, more expenses, and a bigger hospital or clinic bill.
Read: Cataract Surgery Recovery Timeline
5. Insurance coverage
Opting to have insurance is a big help in mitigating the costs of medical procedures, including cataract surgery. In Singapore, you can choose from various insurance companies that offer flexible plans to suit your needs.
Meanwhile, the government’s Medisave is also acknowledged in most clinics and hospitals in the country. Therefore, if you have insurance coverage, the cost of cataract surgery in Singapore can become more affordable and cost-effective.
6. Experience of the surgeon
The doctor’s training, experience, and expertise play pivotal roles in the outcome of cataract surgery. The doctor’s knowledge and the ability to navigate and use technologies in the pre-operative lens calculations and during surgery are important. It helps the doctor understand the complexities and improve the accuracy of the pre-operative calculation of the intraocular lens implanted into the eye. These require the surgeon to have more extensive medical training and enable the surgeon to provide the patient with better quality care and outcome of the surgery.
For example, the doctors will conduct customised lens fitting using advanced technologies, such as the Galilei G4 Topographer and the IOLMaster 700. The Galilei G4 Topographer combines Placido disc-based topography and Scheimpflug tomography. It’s a comprehensive diagnostic device that accurately measures the anterior curvature of the cornea, pachymetry, and elevation data with 3D chamber analysis to look at the toricity of the eye. The IOLMaster 700, on the other hand, provides accurate lens thickness, corneal thickness, and anterior chamber depth of the eye. Furthermore, it gives OCT imaging and visualisation of the entire length of the eyeball. The accurate interpretation of all these data requires experience and training so as to improve the outcome of the cataract surgery.
The bottom line
Our eyes are precious, and blindness is irreversible once you have them. Since cataract is a common cause of vision loss, you should seek treatment as soon as symptoms appear.
Furthermore, vision loss prevents you from seeing the beauty of the world. So, it’s now or never. Be proactive about your eye health. It is, therefore, vital to choose a health professional with the necessary skills, knowledge, technologies and training to perform the procedure.
In seeking cataract treatment, you should always prioritise professional medical expertise and quality service in clinics; it’s not just about dollars and cents but also your safety and the surgery’s effectiveness.
To learn more about cataracts and their treatment, visit our website or book a consultation with our medical director Dr Jimmy Lim. At JL Eye Specialists, we also offer a comprehensive eye exam to ensure that our clients are routinely checked for eye problems.
DR. JIMMY LIM
Gleneagles Medical Centre
6 Napier Road #07-10,
Phone: +65 6258 8966
Fax: +65 6258 8766