Cataract Surgery Cost in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023


What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common eye condition characterized by the clouding of the lens, which can lead to blurry vision, difficulty in seeing at night, and sensitivity to light. As cataracts progress, they can severely impair vision and negatively impact a person's quality of life.

Importance of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment to restore clear vision and improve the quality of life for those affected by cataracts. This procedure is one of the most common and successful surgeries performed worldwide, with a high success rate and low risk of complications.

Cataract Surgery Cost

In this article, we dive into detailed information on cataract surgery cost and health insurance options in Australia. By understanding the factors affecting the cost and available insurance options, you can make informed decisions about your cataract surgery and ensure the best possible outcome.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Description of the Procedure

Cataract surgery is a procedure that involves removing the clouded lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The surgery is typically performed under local anaesthesia and takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the eye, removes the clouded lens, and inserts the IOL, which remains in the eye permanently.

Benefits and Risks

The primary benefit of cataract surgery is the restoration of clear vision, which can significantly improve a person's quality of life. Most patients experience immediate improvement in their vision, with the full benefits becoming apparent within a few weeks.

Although cataract surgery is considered a low-risk procedure, there are potential risks and complications, such as infection, inflammation, and retinal detachment. However, these complications are relatively rare, and the overall success rate of the surgery is high.

Types of Cataract Surgery

There are two main types of cataract surgery:

Phacoemulsification: This is the most common type of cataract surgery, which uses ultrasound energy to break up the clouded lens into small fragments, which are then gently suctioned out through a small incision. This method usually requires a smaller incision and has a quicker recovery time.

Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE): This method involves making a larger incision in the eye and removing the clouded lens in one piece. This technique is less common than phacoemulsification and is typically reserved for cases where the cataract is too dense or advanced for the phacoemulsification technique.

Your eye surgeon will determine the most suitable type of cataract surgery for you based on the severity and type of cataract and your overall eye health.

Factors Influencing Cataract Surgery Cost in Australia

Type of Surgery

The type of cataract surgery you undergo will influence the overall cost. General cataract surgery may cost less than cataract surgery with the addition of a glaucoma stint, which is a more complex procedure.

Surgeon's Fees

Surgeon's fees can vary depending on their experience, expertise, and location. Choosing a highly experienced and reputable surgeon may result in higher fees, but it can also increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Geographic Location

The cost of cataract surgery can differ depending on the state or territory in which the surgery is performed. Metropolitan areas may have higher fees due to increased demand and overhead costs, while rural areas might offer lower fees.

Facility and Anaesthesia Fees

The fees for the facility where the surgery is performed and the anaesthesiologist’s fees can also impact the overall cost. Private hospitals or day surgery centres may have higher fees compared to public hospitals, while the choice of local or general anaesthesia can also affect the cost.

Pre- and Post-Operative Care

Pre-operative consultations, tests, and post-operative care, such as follow-up appointments and medications, can add to the overall cost of cataract surgery. It's essential to consider these additional expenses when budgeting for your procedure.

Average Cataract Surgery Cost in Australia for 2023

Breakdown of costs by type of surgery

In Australia, there are two primary subtypes of cataract surgery that differ in costs: General Cataract Surgery and Cataract Surgery with a Glaucoma Stent. This section will break down the costs associated with each subtype, including specialist fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and hospital fees.

General Cataract Surgery

For general cataract surgery, the typical specialist fees amount to approximately $2,000. Patients with private health insurance who undergo this surgery in a private hospital often have to pay out-of-pocket costs. In fact, 46% of these patients experience out-of-pocket expenses, with the typical amount paid being $370.

Hospital fees for general cataract surgery are typically around $2,400. If you have private health insurance, the coverage will either entirely or nearly entirely cover these fees.

Cataract Surgery with a Glaucoma Stent

Cataract surgery combined with a glaucoma stent has slightly higher costs compared to general cataract surgery. The typical specialist fees for this procedure are approximately $2,200. Similar to general cataract surgery, 46% of patients with private health insurance who undergo this surgery in a private hospital have to pay out-of-pocket costs. In these cases, the typical amount paid out-of-pocket is $490.

The hospital fees for cataract surgery with a glaucoma stent are notably higher, with a typical cost of around $3,900. As with general cataract surgery, private health insurance should cover most or all of these fees.

In summary, the costs associated with cataract surgery in Australia depend on the specific subtype of the procedure. Both specialist fees and hospital fees are higher for cataract surgery with a glaucoma stent compared to general cataract surgery. However, patients with private health insurance can expect their coverage to largely cover hospital fees in both cases, though out-of-pocket costs may still apply.


Comparison of Costs Across Different States and Territories

Cataract surgery costs can differ significantly across Australia's states and territories. For example, New South Wales and Victoria may have higher average costs due to higher demand and living costs, while Tasmania and South Australia may offer more affordable options. It's essential to research the average costs in your specific location to have a more accurate estimate.

The following tables summarise the cost variation you can expect depending on which state you’re in:

General Cataract Surgery

%With out-of-pocket costs 31% 70% 60% 51% 15% 82%
Typical specialist fees $2,100 $1,900 $2,100 $1,900 $1,700 $2,400
Patients typically paid $500 $300 $450 $300 $110 $1,200

Cataract Surgery with a Glaucoma Stent

%With out-of-pocket costs 35% 77% 61% 41% 19% 86%
Typical specialist fees $2,400 $2,300 $2,200 $2,100 $1,900 $2,200
Patients typically paid $740 $500 $500 $280 $140 $430


Additional Expenses to Consider

When calculating the total cost of cataract surgery, it's crucial to consider additional expenses such as pre-operative consultations, diagnostic tests, post-operative care, and any required medications. These costs can add up and should be factored into your overall budget for the procedure.

Health Insurance Coverage for Cataract Surgery in Australia

Overview of insurance coverage

Health insurance can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses associated with cataract surgery. Most private health insurance policies in Australia provide coverage for cataract surgery as part of their hospital cover. The extent of coverage depends on the specific policy, and it's essential to review your policy details or consult with your insurer to understand what is included.

Types of Australian health insurance plans

Hospital cover

Hospital cover provides benefits for in-hospital treatments and services, including cataract surgery. Depending on the level of cover you choose, the policy may cover the costs of the surgery, accommodation, and other related fees. It’s essential to check the specific inclusions and exclusions of your policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage for your needs.

Extras cover

Extras cover provides benefits for out-of-hospital services, such as optometry, dental, and physiotherapy. While extras cover typically does not include cataract surgery itself, it may cover some pre- and post-operative consultations, tests, and medications, which can help reduce your overall expenses.

Combined cover

Combined cover offers both hospital and extras cover in one policy. This type of insurance plan can provide comprehensive coverage for various health services, including cataract surgery and related out-of-hospital services. Make sure to review the policy’s details to ensure it meets your specific needs.

Factors affecting coverage


Excess is an amount you agree to pay upfront before your health insurance policy covers the remaining costs of a hospital admission. Choosing a higher excess can reduce your premium, but it will also increase your out-of-pocket expenses when you undergo cataract surgery. Consider the trade-off between lower premiums and higher excess when selecting your policy.

Waiting periods

Waiting periods are the amount of time you must wait after taking out a policy before you can claim benefits for specific services, such as cataract surgery. Most health insurance policies impose a waiting period for cataract surgery, which can range from two months to several years, depending on the insurer and the level of cover. Make sure you are aware of and have served any applicable waiting periods before scheduling your surgery.

Benefit limits

Benefit limits are the maximum amounts your insurer will pay for specific services within a given period. For cataract surgery, benefit limits can vary depending on the policy and the level of cover you choose. Review your policy’s benefit limits to ensure that the coverage is adequate to cover the costs of your cataract surgery.

Using Health Deal, a health insurance comparison website, can help you find and compare suitable health insurance policies for cataract surgery, considering factors such as excess, waiting periods, and benefit limits. By comparing various policies, you can make an informed decision and choose the best plan for your needs.

Comparing Health Insurance Plans for Cataract Surgery in Australia

Tips for evaluating insurance options

When evaluating health insurance options for cataract surgery, consider the following:

Determine your needs: Assess your specific requirements, such as the type of cataract surgery and any pre- and post-operative care.

Review coverage: Ensure the policy covers cataract surgery and any associated services you may require.

Compare premiums and excess: Find a balance between affordable premiums and a manageable excess amount.

Check waiting periods: Ensure that you have served or are willing to wait for any applicable waiting periods before claiming benefits.

Review benefit limits: Make sure the policy offers adequate benefit limits for your surgery and related expenses.

Questions to ask your insurer

When discussing cataract surgery coverage with your insurer, consider asking the following questions:

Compare Health Insurance With Health Deal

Health Deal is a health insurance comparison website that can help you find the best insurance plan for your cataract surgery in Australia. By using Health Deal, you can:

In just a few minutes, you can find out the best policy for your needs, and ensure you’re covered for any cataract surgery costs.

Australian Government Programs and Financial Assistance

Medicare coverage for cataract surgery

Medicare, Australia's public health care system, provides some coverage for cataract surgery. Medicare typically covers a portion of the surgeon's fees and other related expenses. However, it may not cover the full cost of the surgery, and you may still face out-of-pocket expenses. It's essential to consult with your surgeon and Medicare to understand the extent of coverage and any remaining costs.

Other government programs

Certain government programs, such as the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), may provide coverage for cataract surgery for eligible individuals. Contact these organizations directly to determine your eligibility and the extent of coverage provided.

Non-profit organizations and financial assistance programs

Some non-profit organizations and charities offer financial assistance or subsidized cataract surgery for eligible individuals. These organizations may have specific eligibility criteria based on factors such as income, age, or health status. Reach out to local non-profit organizations and inquire about any available assistance programs for cataract surgery.

Ways to Save on Cataract Surgery Cost in Australia

Price shopping

Consider obtaining quotes from multiple surgeons and facilities to compare costs for cataract surgery. Prices may vary based on location, experience, and the surgeon's reputation, so shopping around can help you find the best value without compromising on quality.

Comparing Health Insurance

Using a health insurance comparison website like Health Deal can help you find a suitable insurance policy that covers cataract surgery at the best possible price. By comparing multiple policies, you can identify the plan that offers the best coverage, premiums, and excess for your specific needs. With Health Deal, you can find out the best policy for you in just a few minutes, and make sure you aren’t overpaying for health insurance.


Cataract surgery is a common, safe, and highly beneficial surgery for those experiencing cataract-related vision problems. Many factors influence the cost of cataract surgery, including the type of surgery, geographic location, and post-operative care.

Understanding the costs associated with cataract surgery and exploring insurance options is crucial to make informed decisions and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Health Deal offers a convenient and efficient platform to compare various health insurance plans and find the best policy for your cataract surgery needs in Australia.

So don’t wait any longer. Visit Health Deal today and discover the perfect health insurance plan to cover your cataract surgery costs in Australia. Get personalized quotes and expert advice tailored to your unique needs.

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