Congress and the Health Care Finance Administration have recently targeted cataract extraction procedures for particular scrutiny and cost containment. The reasons have been amply stated: cataract surgery now accounts for 12% of the entire Medicare budget and is presently the most frequently performed surgical procedure reimbursed by Medicare.1 Given the apparent threefold or greater increase in the annual number of cataract operations in the past decade and the prediction by some that the number of intraocular lens (IOL) implantations will approach 2 million per year,2 regulators view cataract surgery as a growing threat to the health care budget.
The Health Care Finance Administration has tried, largely in vain, to contain costs by reducing reimbursement. Increasing attention is therefore being given to the indications for surgery and ways to reduce what appears to be the inexorable growth in the number of cataract operations. Continued collection and analysis of
Stark WJ, Sommer A, Smith RE. Changing Trends in Intraocular Lens Implantation. Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(10):1441-1444. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020515030