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How Much Does Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) Surgery Cost?

Pterygium surgery can vary significantly in cost, depending on the doctor and geographic location. Some offices advertise prices as low as $995 to $1,600 for pterygium surgery without insurance coverage, whereas other sources say the cost of this surgery averages $3,998 to $8,359 nationally.

Insurance may cover at least part of the cost of pterygium surgery. Your insurance company will usually need to deem the procedure medically necessary in order to cover it. This means the growth is affecting your vision.

The Cost of Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) Surgery

Pterygium surgery can be expensive, although estimates of the average cost of procedures to correct this condition vary somewhat. MDSave places the estimated national average cost at $8,359. Some individual surgeon’s offices state they offer the surgery for prices starting at $995. 

Significant variance in the cost of this surgery depends on where you live, the severity of your condition, and the provider you choose to go with. As a general rule, costs will rise with the severity of the condition and the level of surgeon’s experience.

Does Insurance Cover This Cost?

Insurance providers tend to only cover medical costs for procedures they deem medically necessary. The necessity of pterygium surgery varies, as the condition doesn’t always affect vision or even cause significant physical discomfort. 

The first-line treatment for pterygium is commonly lubricating or steroid eye drops rather than surgery. An eye doctor will then simply monitor the growth’s development, and symptoms will be managed via drops and lifestyle modifications. 

Even if you don’t like how pterygium looks aesthetically, that doesn’t guarantee your insurance company will cover the cost of treatment. Your ophthalmologist will have to justify the necessity of the procedure to your insurance company to get you coverage.

Why Get Surfer’s Eye Surgery Regardless of the Cost?

Pterygia growths won’t go away on their own. Many people dislike the way they change the look of their eyes, and these growths also have the potential to affect vision. 

At the same time, smaller growths may not be very noticeable and may not require surgery. Whether surgery is a good option for you depends on your personal needs, how the growth is affecting you, and the opinions of your eye care professional. 

While these growths are non-cancerous, a pterygium can expand onto the cornea over time, leading to various visual impairments or even complications if left untreated. Removing it surgically is an effective method for helping to prevent further growth while reducing any associated risks that come with such an issue. Ultimately, opting for intervention can help your long-term eye health. 

It’s worth noting, however, that pterygium surgery doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from developing a pterygium again. There are surgical techniques often used to make this less likely, such as transplanting a slim bit of healthy tissue onto the affected area, but it’s also important to listen to your eye care professional and take proper steps to reduce your risk of developing another growth.

Finding a Surgeon to Treat Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye)

The ideal surgeon to treat your pterygium will depend on your needs. If you intend to use your insurance and believe your costs should be covered under your plan, you will want to find a surgeon in-network, as out-of-network surgery will generally cost significantly more, if your costs get covered at all.

Reach out to friends, family members, or colleagues who have undergone similar treatment in the past, as they might provide unique perspectives that can help you narrow down your options. Consult with trusted eye care professionals, such as optometrists or ophthalmologists, as they can recommend well-regarded specialists relevant to your needs.

You can also quickly check the websites or contact the offices of the surgeons you’re considering to inquire about their experiences in treating pterygium. You can also read patient reviews online and consider scheduling appointments with multiple potential surgeons to assess their communication styles and your compatibility. This approach will help ensure that you find the best surgeon for your unique situation.

Second Opinions

If you’re experiencing any doubts or worries regarding pterygium treatment, get a second opinion. An expert eye surgeon dedicated solely to treating this condition can provide supplementary knowledge on the matter. In some cases, one expert may believe you could benefit from surgery, while another may think it is unnecessary or might otherwise suggest a different approach.

Prioritize Experience

In choosing an ideal candidate for your pterygium surgery, a good final outcome should generally be your top priority. While cost is an important consideration, make sure to not prioritize it at the expense of quality. Eye surgery is delicate work, and you want to make sure you’re getting surgery done by a reputable and ideally experienced professional.

References

Pterygium With or Without Graft. MDSave.

What Is a Pinguecula and a Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye)? (September 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Different Pterygium Surgeries: A Review of the Literature. (September 2022). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Cosmetic Pterygium Surgery: Techniques and Long-Term Outcomes. (June 2020). Clinical Ophthalmology
Pterygium: Surgical Techniques and Choices. (November–December 2019). Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology.

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