Ophthalmology is a relatively circumscribed specialty in the general context of medicine. However, the surgical aspect of ophthalmology has expanded appreciably in the last two decades and constitutes an important component of total surgical procedures. The Health Care Financing Administration has recently analyzed physicians' charges for surgical services paid by Medicare, contrasting expenditures in 1980 and 1985.1 Charges submitted to Medicare for all surgical services increased from $3.8 billion to $9.4 billion in that period. Charges for ophthalmic services constitute a surprisingly and relatively large portion of total fees charged to Medicare for surgical procedures.
OPHTHALMIC SURGICAL CHARGES
The following statistics are of particular interest:
Ophthalmic surgery accounted for 18.7% of total charges submitted for reimbursement to Medicare in 1985 for all surgical services, including general surgery, orthopedics, and other specialties (Table 1).
Eye surgery represented the single largest share of the $9.4 billion in surgical charges submitted
Frenkel M. Analysis of Ophthalmic Surgical Charges for Services to Medicare Recipients: 1980 and 1985. Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(8):1132-1134. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020198024