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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Opthamology & Optometry > Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma Treatment Cost


How Much Does Glaucoma Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays or 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$11,000+
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Glaucoma typically increases pressure in the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve and, in some cases, lead to blindness. Chronic (open-angle) glaucoma is the most common type, and gradual loss of vision usually is the first symptom. Treatment with pressure-lowering drugs or surgery can help preserve vision.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Treatment for glaucoma typically is covered by insurance, with some restrictions. For example, Aetna[1] considers laser surgery medically necessary when first-line and second-line drugs have not worked.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, glaucoma diagnosis typically costs $50-$200 or more, depending on the doctor and tests performed. And treatment typically costs about $12-$90 per month -- or $150-$1,080 or more per year -- for medication, usually in the form of eye drops. And it typically costs from less than $1,000 to $2,000 or more for laser surgery in a doctor's office or ambulatory surgery center, and up to $11,000 or more for conventional surgery in a hospital.
  • For example, according to AllAboutVision.com[2] , an eye exam typically costs $50-$100 or more, including an eye pressure test and examination of the optic nerve. Additional tests might cost more. For example, Lakewood Family Eye Care[3] in Florida charges $139 for a comprehensive exam, but charges an additional $40 for gonioscopy, a test that shows the angle between the iris and cornea, which can help diagnose two types of glaucoma.
  • An American Journal of Ophthalmology study[4] found that costs for medical treatment were about $150-$870 per year, depending on the type of medication, dose and whether it was generic or brand-name. The cost was lowest for generic timolol maleate drops twice per day and highest for brand-name Alphagan three times per day. Drugstore.com charges $13-$15 for a one-month supply of timolol ophthalmic[5] -- or $156 to $180 per year. Drugstore.com charges $26 for a one-month supply of generic brimonidine ophthalmic[6] -- or $312 per year. It charges $89 per month -- or $1,068 per year -- for the brand-name equivalent, Alphagan[7] . Drugstore.com charges about $180 for a two-month supply -- or $1,080 per year -- for brand-name Lumigan[8] .
  • According to Healthcare Blue Book[9] , laser surgery for glaucoma typically costs about $1,300 if performed in an ambulatory surgery center or up to $4,900 or more if performed in a hospital. The Florida Eye Center[10] charges $450 per eye -- or $900 for both eyes -- for laser trabeculoplasty[11] surgery for glaucoma. Baptist Memorial Health Care in Tennessee charges almost $7,000, not including doctor fee, to surgically implant a drainage shunt in the eye. Studies cited in the Review of Ophthalmology[12] found that incisional surgery in a hospital typically costs $7,300-$11,300.
Related articles: Dry Eye Treatment, Cataract Surgery, Glaucoma Treatment, Eye Exam

What should be included:
  • An eye doctor typically diagnoses glaucoma by performing an eye exam. The doctor might measure the pressure in the eye, check the drainage, and look for damage in the optic nerve. MedicineNet.co explains tests for diagnosing glaucoma[13] . There are several types of glaucoma[14] .
  • Medications -- typically eye drops applied up to three times per day -- are the most common treatment for glaucoma. Drugs include timolol ophthalmic[15] and brimonidine ophthalmic[16] (brand name Alphagan) or bimatoprost ophthalmic[17] (brand name Lumigan). The Glaucoma Research Foundation offers a medication guide[18] .
  • Outpatient surgery sometimes is recommended. In laser or conventional surgery, the doctor makes a small cut to allow fluid to drain and release pressure. Or, the doctor might implant a tube to allow drainage. The Glaucoma Research Foundation offers an overview of surgery[19] .
Additional costs:
  • For patients who have trouble administering medication, an eye drop dispenser can cost $5-$20 or more.
  • Patients with low vision might require magnifiers for reading, watching television and other tasks. These can cost about $5-$90 or more.
Discounts:
  • Eye Care America[20] offers free eye exams to uninsured patients at an increased risk for glaucoma who have not had an eye exam in more than 12 months.
  • Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs. Any patient without prescription drug coverage who also is not eligible for Medicare typically qualifies for Together Rx Access[21] , a discount card that offers 25%-40%off many brand-name drugs.
  • The American Health Assistance Foundation offers links to drug manufacturers' patient-assistance programs[22] .
Shopping for glaucoma treatment:
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides an ophthalmologist locator[23] . For patients seeking a glaucoma specialist, the American Glaucoma Society provides a tool[24] to locate member doctors who have completed at least a one-year clinical fellowship in glaucoma.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
goaucoma test and treatment
Amount: $750.00
Posted by: john shimamura in orange, CA.Posted: October 5th, 2015 01:10AM
Insurance: 0
$750 for first office visit. Testing and diagnostic of glaucoma. What is average cost for testing and treatment. Recommend local Doctors that treat glaucoma at reasonable cost.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/400_499/0484.html
  2.  www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/preparing.htm
  3.  /lakewoodeyes.com/
  4.  www.v2020la.org/pub/PUBLICATIONS_BY_TOPICS/Glaucoma/Cost%20Analysis%20of%20Glaucoma%20M...
  5.  www.drugstore.com/timolol-maleate/timopticbetimolblocadren/5ml-bottle-0-25-solution/qxn...
  6.  www.drugstore.com/brimonidine-tartrate/alphagan-p/0-2-solution/qxn24208041105
  7.  www.drugstore.com/alphagan-p/5ml-bottle-0-15-solution/qxn00023917705
  8.  www.drugstore.com/lumigan/5ml-bottle-0-03-solution/qxn00023918705
  9.  healthcarebluebook.com/page_Results.aspx?id=120&dataset=MD
  10.  www.floridaeyecenter.com/glaucoma.htm#Treatment%20for%20Glaucoma
  11.  www.webmd.com/eye-health/laser-trabeculoplasty-for-glaucoma
  12.  www.revophth.com/content/d/glaucoma_management/c/22792/
  13.  www.medicinenet.com/glaucoma/page3.htm
  14.  www.glaucomafoundation.org/types_of_glaucoma.htm
  15.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000554/
  16.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000164/
  17.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000209/
  18.  www.glaucoma.org/treatment/medication-guide.php
  19.  www.glaucoma.org/treatment/surgery-overview.php
  20.  eyecareamerica.org/
  21.  www.togetherrxaccess.com/p/prescription-savings/about-together-rx-access/enroll.aspx
  22.  www.ahaf.org/glaucoma/resources/glaucoma-prescription.html
  23.  www.aao.org/aao/find_eyemd.cfm
  24.  www.americanglaucomasociety.net/search/doctors
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