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Cataract surgery benefits: More than meets the eye


When considering cataract surgery, most people focus on how their vision will improve. However, the benefits of cataract surgery extend far beyond the eye, to general health, mental wellbeing, independence and quality of life.

Potential benefits of cataract surgery2-13

Reduced risk of falls, fractures and surgical complications
Falls in the elderly can cause significant disability. Patients with cataracts are 2 or 3 times more likely to fall.

Increased safety and confidence, especially while driving
Driving plays an important role in maintaining independence, mental wellbeing and engagement in the community.

Reduced dependence on glasses
Cataracts may cause an increase in the strength of an individual’s glasses or contact lens prescription. Cataract surgery may reduce the need for glasses.

Less anxiety and depression
By limiting independence and affecting overall quality of life, cataracts increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

Higher levels of activity and physical fitness
Cataract surgery increases confidence and preserves mobility, making it easier for older adults to stay active.

Reduced need for nursing home or personal care
By helping to maintain individuals’ independence, cataract surgery reduces the need for outside care.

Continued ability to work
Cataract surgery enables older adults to continue their occupations, fostering their independence and engagement in life.


Potential benefits of private cataract surgery

Did you know 76% of cataract surgeries are performed in private hospitals or day surgeries?14 Patients who access cataract surgery through the private system can expect:

Minimal wait times for consultations and surgery
The wait time for public cataract surgery can be long; in some cases, up to a year.15 Within the private system, cataract surgery can usually be scheduled within a few weeks of diagnosis.16

Your choice of surgeon and location
When you choose private cataract surgery, you can consult and schedule surgery with your preferred cataract surgeon at a clinic and day surgery near you.

Your choice of surgery date
In many cases, there is flexibility to choose a surgery date to suit your schedule and commitments.

Access to a range of replacement lenses to suit your lifestyle goals
There are several different types of replacement lenses to suit a variety of visual and lifestyle goals. All of these options are available through the private system, so you and your surgeon can select the most appropriate lens option for you.

If you are considering private cataract surgery, the first step is to contact your private health insurer. Confirm that your level of cover includes cataract surgery and whether there are any required waiting periods and gap payments (co-payments, excess).

Note: You do not have to have private health insurance to have private cataract surgery. You can self-fund your surgery using your own funds, or sometimes by accessing your superannuation early (visit the Australian Taxation Office for details).


1. Roberts TV. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2020;48(5):551-3.
2. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health care. Cataract Clinical Care Standard. Consultation Draft. Sydney: ACSQHC 2019.
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Elective surgery waiting times 2017–18. Available at https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/73b686ab-32e9-48b1-86f2-cd264b3cf073/aihw-hse-215.pdf.aspx?inline=true.
4. Mahroo O. BMJ 2011;342:d2438.
5. Gimbel H, Dardzhikova A. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2011;22(1):28–30.
6. NORC at the University of Chicago. Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States 2013.
7. Feng Y et al. Clin Int Aging 2018;13:1457–64.
8. Palgyi A et al. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57:6003–10.
9. Palgyi A et al. J Cataract Refract Surg 2017;43:1313–21.
10. Keay L and Palgyi A. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2018;38(2):117–18.
11. Mennemeyer S et al. Accid Anal Prev 2013;61:203–11.
12. Agramunt S et al. J Cataract Refract Surg 2016;42:788–94.
13. McCarty C et al. Br J Ophthalmol 2001;85(3):322–26.
14. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Admitted patient activity. AIHW, 2023. Available at https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/intersection/activity/apc [Accessed 6 October 2023].
15. Huang-Lung J, Angell, B, Palagyi, A et al. The true cost of hidden waiting times for cataract surgery in Australia. Public Health Res Pract. 2021. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17061/phrp31342116
16. Huang-Lung J, Angell, B, Palagyi, A et al. The true cost of hidden waiting times for cataract surgery in Australia. Public Health Res Pract. 2021. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17061/phrp31342116

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The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.

Date last reviewed: 2023-11-24 | Date for next review: 2025-11-24

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