Medical tourism is an exponentially growing industry. Local versus overseas cost considerations for other surgical procedures have led to the evolution this industry with an estimated value of $100 billion a year. The major players are India, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, with a combined 1.3 million medical tourists a year. Benefits for these medical tourists include decreased waiting time, comparable technology, minimal language barrier and decreased cost of treatment.
As it is well known, cataract is the leading cause of treatable blindness worldwide. 1.82 million cataract procedures were performed in the US in 2013.
Eye Surgery Costs Abroad
With a huge selection of modern, state-of-the-art eye clinics available worldwide, travelling abroad for eye surgery is becoming an increasingly popular choice.
Procedures such as LASIK Laser Eye Surgery, Cataract Surgery, glaucoma surgery, squint correction and the latest intraocular lenses are available at very competitive prices, and many people take the opportunity to combine their eye treatment with a relaxing holiday in their chosen destination. As an additional benefit, some treatment providers are able to arrange pre-operative and after-care services in the UK.
A cataract is a condition affecting the lens of the eye. The lens is situated inside the eye behind the pupil and iris. Its normal function is to focus the light to ensure we see a clear image. A cataract is present when the lens, which is normally clear, becomes cloudy. This restricts the amount of light that is able to enter the eye, causing blurred vision, dazzle and glare. A cataract can be treated by an operation to remove the cloudy lens. This does not involve laser treatment. A lens implant is inserted into the eye to replace the cataract. In the majority of cases no stitches are required. The operation is normally carried out with a local anaesthetic (the patient remains awake). Most patients have surgery as a day case, although some opt to stay in hospital over night.
With soaring medical costs, we find that medical tourism is becoming a potential option for American patients with fiscal limitations. We find that unilateral cataract surgery in the United States is a low cost option for a patient living in the United States. Bilateral surgery that is trending more may be a valid and cost-effective option for a patient but personal and professional judgement should be used in each case.
Over 1.5 million cataract surgeries are registered in the U.S alone, but the costs of the femtosecond laser cataract surgery are relatively high, around $4500 as compared to the $3500 Phacoemulsification cataract surgery costs. These numbers might improve with time, the increased demand and national competition, however, in the present state of affairs cataract surgery abroad might be worth considering.
Usually a cataract surgery is not an urgent procedure, your eyes will not get hurt if you take your time and check several options. Long waiting lists and costly hospital bills await average patients in the U.S. and U.K so going overseas to combine the surgery with a memorable holiday is always an option. France, Turkey and the Czech Republic offers top notch medical facilities for cataract, and a variety of other eyes surgeries.
The most common type of cataract in the United States is the senile cataract, which has an incidence of as high as 42% among the age group of 52 to 64 years and up to 91% among age group of 75 to 85. The procedure is a simple daycare surgery, which is most preferably performed under local anesthesia and has a high success rate of 90% and low incidence of surgical complications. The surgery may require the replacement of the natural lens by an artificial lens which improves and restores the patient’s vision after the surgery. International medical tourism destinations like India, Jordan, Turkey, Mexico and South Korea have medical infrastructure comparable to the United States, and provide low cost cataract eye surgery. Most of the institutions abroad are accredited by international standard accreditation agencies which ensure high quality of medical and surgical care.
Cataract Surgery in Turkey:
With a strong image and repute in the Middle East, attributed to international quality standards and low cost of cataract surgery, Turkey is now poised to become the new hub for medical tourism across all continents. The hospitals in Turkey are equipped with the latest technology and equipments and a team of experienced and well trained physicians, thus attracting several patients, every year.
Cataract Surgery in South Korea:
South Korea is a recent entrant to the medical tourism industry and yet has gained phenomenal reputation. High quality of medical care with huge savings of up to 50% on cataract surgery cost, has promoted the growth of medical tourism industry in the country.
Cataract Surgery in Mexico:
Mexican healthcare infrastructure is rated as the 61st best healthcare infrastructure in the world by the World Health Organization. Its proximity to the American border, lower travel time and strong medical teams, have helped it, become one of the most preferred destinations for seeking medical care abroad, especially for American patients.