Glaucoma is a severe eye condition. When left untreated, it can cause blindness. Especially in those who are 60 years old or older.
One way to treat glaucoma is with laser surgery. So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover Glaucoma Laser Surgery?” In this article, we answer the question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of Laser surgery for glaucoma, as well as other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Glaucoma Laser Surgery?
The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of laser surgery for glaucoma. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your glaucoma laser surgery. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for laser surgery for treating glaucoma. Treatment is usually done as outpatient surgery so Medicare Part A rarely comes into play here.
Medicare Part B, however, will usually cover laser surgery for glaucoma. As is typically the case with Part B, Medicare will pay 80% of the costs and you’ll pay the remaining 20%
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for laser surgery to treat glaucoma. The costs will depend on the specifics of your plan.
How Much Does Glaucoma Laser Surgery Cost?
The average cost of laser surgeries for glaucoma is generally in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. But in a hospital setting, that cost may be closer to $5,000.
You can have your laser surgeries at an ophthalmologist’s office, a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center. Having the surgery performed at an ambulatory surgery center tends to cost less as they are outpatient surgeries.
What Is Glaucoma?
To function normally, the eyes must maintain a healthy fluid pressure. Usually older fluids, the aqueous humor, are flushed out through an opening near the cornea as newer aqueous humor is produced.
However, if the aqueous humor does not drain properly, pressure can build up that damages the optic nerve’s fibers. This results in blind spots in a person’s field of vision.
It may cause total blindness if not be treated. It has different types and stages. Two common types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and Angle-closure glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. Though the eye’s drainage angle remains open, the trabecular meshwork is partly blocked. This increases the pressure in the eye, which will damage the optic nerves. It happens slowly and will not be noticeable until it reaches later stages.
About Glaucoma Laser Surgery
Laser trabeculoplasty, or commonly known as laser surgery, treats open-angle glaucoma. The laser makes small cuts to your trabecular meshwork, which will allow the fluids to drain.
This will reduce the pressure that built up in the eye. It may take a few weeks before the operation takes full effect.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover ice machines?