Cataract SurgeryMedical practice

How much a Cataract surgery cost in India?

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Cataract surgery has no fixed formula to calculate a cost, but there are few rules which worth to be mentioned to help decide right place get operated. Having a relative getting operated is often a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, and biggest question is how much is it going to cost. Am I been quoted a fair price or I am getting fooled. 

Surgery packages:

Most of the cataract surgeons in India practice what they call as surgical packages for what they charge for doing cataract surgeries. It is mainly limited to uncomplicated age related cataract done under without giving the general anesthesia.

The” Package” include, pre-operative examination, surgeons fee, surgery charges, anesthesia charges, medication given during and before surgery, cost implant (Lens) and hospital stay. it varies from, hospital to hospital , surgeon to surgeon, city to city, type of surgery ( SICS> Phaco> Femto Laser) , type of lens ( Indian Mono-Focal > Indian Multifocal> Multifocal )  and so on. Cost may vary from 10k -150k depending on the combination of doctor, hospital, surgery, lens you have chosen for you.

Cost of the post-operative drugs and additional intervention after the surgery are usually separate.

How to confirm that you have got what you have promised?

At the time of discharge, patient gets the discharge and treatment summary, which mentions name of surgeon, anesthesia, details of surgery and details (name and brand of lens) implanted in the eye. Brakes down of the charges for each item are usually not provided.

Can you bring the lens of your own and hospital to implant it?

Most of the hospital gives a fairly long list of Lens to choose from. One can choose from the available options. Hospitals usually do not allow surgical implants and disposables from outside. It is because hospital has to maintain a huge inventory of each and every disposable and lens in different sizes and numbers and often in multiple numbers as the backup. If a lens or any disposable gets damaged or contaminated while handling it during implantation, hospitals have multiple similar pieces in back up. It is not possible if patients bring a single piece from outside.

More over surgeons often have expertise and a certain comfort level with certain brands of lens, which they implant daily. Most of the surgeons have serious reservations against trying a new lens, in that event of stress of doing a surgery. So they usually do not agree for this.

Brands of Lens

There are many different types of intra-ocular lenses available in India. Most surgeon/hospitals offer surgical packages based on Indian (cheap) and imported (expensive) lenses. Imported lens are costlier than their Indian counterpart and are preferred by both patients (rich) and doctors alike. There are no scientific studies which validate the difference in the quality of the two, this notion continue due the common perception that imported goods are superior in quality.

Indian versus imported lenses

In eighties and nineties, when ophthalmologist began to switch to lens implantation (rather than leaving the eye without the lens and giving the patient thick glasses). At that time the lens needed to be imported from US and Europe, as there were no lens manufacturers in India. Though the imported lens were of good quality but were very expensive. In nineties some Indian companies started manufacturing lens in India. The lens manufactured were quite cheap, but the quality wan not as good as those of the imported once.

Now days there are many Indian companies who are manufacturing the lenses in India, and also exporting it to many other countries, which include US and Europe. Since they have to meet stringent FDA and EC guidelines for that, overall quality of lens manufactures in India matches with any of the manufacturers from abroad.

So in my view, it as far as the  quality  of the comparable lens (similar lens material and design) is concerned, there is no difference.  The imported Lens usually cost 3 to 5 times as much as an Indian lens. Various government bodies are raising concern of this pricing of the lens in India. Quite likely, we may have some government regulation on price control of lens, in day to come.

Imported: Alcon, AMO, Zeiss, Bausch & Lomb, Hoya.

Indian companies: Appasamy, Omni, Aurolabs, Biotech, Care,

Foldable lens versus non foldable (rigid) lens?

Foldable lenses are more popular and expensive that their non-foldable (rigid) counterparts if all other parameters are same (design, brand, country of origin). There are only two scientific studies (one from Thailand, other from France ) which were designed to see the difference  in the vision and other outcomes after the surgery, among these type of lenses. Neither of the two studies reported any difference among the two.

Tips regarding selecting lens packages in cataract surgery.

  • Surgery packages: 10K-150K INR chose as per your budget.
  • How to confirm that you have got what you have promised?  Discharge Summary 
  • Can you bring the lens by your own ? No 
  • Which Brands of Lens is better? All are same. 
  • Indian versus imported lenses, which are better? All are same
  • Fold-able lens versus non-fold-able (rigid) lens, which one is better? All are same

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