Cataract Operation in the Philippines — I Can See Clearly Now

Cataract Operation in the Philippines? What’s that all about, Dave?

This post was originally published back in August, 2009, when I had my eyes worked on.  It’s been significantly updated and corrected to bring it up to 2011 standards.  I have a real treat coming up over the next few days.  A whole new aspect of cataract surgery and how you can get it in the Philippines … no need to pay the prices in “old number 37 USA”.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

Remember the old Johnny Nash (yes, Nash, not Cash)song,

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day.

Well that’s the way things are for me these days, Living here in Marilao, Bulacan, Republic of the Philippines.

More cataract operation in the Philippines information here.

Cataract Operation in the Philippines — Who Needs It

Some people (me included) up until a few years ago think that cataracts are something that old people suffer from.  Although I’m likely older than many who read this blog. Im not really that old yet … I’ll be 64 in a couple weeks, I’m almost a Baby Boomer.

But my vision, especially my night vision has been affected by cataracts for years now

(How come so young?  Maybe years of staring onto microwave antennas, it’s great when the government tells you certain doses of radiation are ok, and then tells you, ooops, only 10th of that amount is what we should have said).

Anyway, here’s a good illustration of that the problem is … note the before picture on the right, where the two little boys are not only blurry but dark and off-color … that’s the closest illustration I have been able to find to show how my vision has been, and after, the picture on the left doesn’t do justice to how good my vision has become after a simple, 20 minute totally painless procedure.

Cataract Operation

The Difference of Night and Day

So you might be asking me why I have suffered this way for so long when the answer seems so easy.  Well, in good old American retiree tradition I could just use the one most common word uttered about medicine these days in the USA,  cost.

The most common 2009 prices I can find for the procedure I had are between $3,000 USD to over $4,000 USD per eye, depending mainly on the type of lens the patient and doctor decide to use.

That is the average price for those who pay for their own surgery in the USA, by the way (yes, imagine that, there are folks on this earth who are not held hostage by insurance companies.  The prices for those using health care insurance and Medicare can easily go to 10 times the [price I just quoted.

Yep, you heard me right, this whole magical, miracle hoopla and semi-revolution going on in my beloved US right now is mainly to protect a racket … the medical health insurance racket that is holding America hostage.

Here in the Philippines, Medicare won’t pay (of course not, they would save billions if they did), so I have a choice of reactivating my Federal Employee retiree health insurance, which I have suspended, just in case I am someday forced to return to the land of the medical rip offs, or paying for the operation from my own pocket.

Cataract Operation in the Philippines — How Much Did It Cost?

So, I paid.  Philippine 1,000 Peso notes.  38 of them.  About $806 USD on the date I paid.  Yep, that’s right.  About one forth of the cheapest price I have heard of recently in the US … or maybe one fortieth of the inflated insurance scam operations.

Cataract Operation in the Philippines — Did It Work?

Fatima Hospital What did I lose?  Nothing that I know of, except my bad vision.

My doctor is top-notch, he has an office not 10 minutes from my house, he has a great staff, the hospital we used is totally adequate, the level of caring of the people I came in contact with is just amazing … and here is the proof of the pudding.
I can see great after my Cataract Operation in the Philippines!

I see so many folks coming here to get information about a possible move to the Philippines and so many of them are literally hung up on medical insurance costs or Medicare regulations.  It is as if the medical insurance industry controls the USA, right up to the highest levels of government … of course the medical insurance segment  doesn’t really rule the lives of the citizens of my once free country … does it?

So what else do you want to know about a Cataract Operation in the Philippines?


  1. Ala says

    I was interested in the blog about philippine medicare (philhealth now). Can u pls tell me if it is possible to get reinstated and be a member again of the medical system. Used to work in the banking system for over 10 years before leaving the country 26 years ago. I plan to retire back in PI but concerned about the medical insurance.

  2. Mita says

    hi Ala, my father has philhealth membership – for free! he’s 80 now and his philhealth coverage covers my mom too. when my mom went for her cataract operation in January, a third of the costs was covered by philhealth. when she gets hospitalized, it’s the same thing.

  3. Neal in RI says

    You hit a nerve here.

    The US healthcare system is a friggin mess.
    Insurance companies dictate to the Docs what procedures they can and cannot do
    They dictate to the Docs what amount of $ the will be reimbursed for the procedures.
    If the Docs dont like accept amount ,then the Unsurance companies do not put those Docs on the list of Docs that the insured people can use.
    So the Docs are forced to take the Fast Food approach and see as many patients as possible every day. Healthcare is now a numbers game. Friggin SAD.

    So you reactivated your GEHA get the procedure done then you can submit your bills to them to be reimbursed.
    Fancy thinking for a non emergency procedure, but would that backfire on you if you had your GEHA in active and then some kind of emergency injury/hospitalization came up.

    • says

      Hi Neal,

      Haven’t seen you here for a while. Apparently, something crossed wires between what I wrote and hat I conveyed here. One of my options when I moved to the Philippines would hav ebene to keep my GEHA (one of the Fereragl employee’s helath benefit plans for those not ‘in the know’). I didn’t want to spend nearly $170 a month on that. If I were a regular retiriee my only other option would be to drop my federal health benefits totally .. an irrevocable decison that seems a bit too ‘forever’ for me to make.

      But becaise I am also retired military (and to all you out there who always moan about how ‘lucky’ I am in holding that status, you had the same option, where were you)? I have TRICARE, the program the US military replaced it’s promise of lifetine ehalth care with. Because I have TRICARE, the government allows me to suspend, but not cancel, my federal benefits.

      I have no intention of ever reactivating those benefits. Thye are there strictly as along-term safety net in case of circumstances I can’t see now. I certainly wouldn’t reactivate them to pay an $860 dollar operation fee, that’s for sure … that was kind of the whole point, even paying out of pocket for an $860 medical bill I am way ahead of the game over paying the $170 a month for GEHA.

      In just over a tear I turn 65, God willing, and then I have to decide if I want to take Medicare Paty B (currently $90 something a month, becuase no matter what iunsurnce I also have, Medicare becomes my primwe carrier .. even the miliary program chnages to TRICARE for Life which only begins to pay what Medicare does not.

      • Neal in RI says

        OK I got it now about the healthcare issue. I am going to look into the GEHA when the next open season for healthcare comes around. Get alo to this my FEP Blue Cross will cost appx 300.00 per month when I retire. I will worry about that when the time comes around, but judging by the way the USPS is going another early retirement offer may come sooner than later.

        Rest assured I visit this site daily, but I can be lazy by nature and not leave any comments as often as I would like.
        Besides that who really wants to hear a Disgruntal Mailman spout off.

        • says

          Hi Neal, Yes I remeber from previous discussions that you don’t have the TRICARE option. It’s OK, though. Should that magical early retirement come through and you have a reasonab;e plan, especially GEHA, you can make it here, I am sure. As you said earlier, medical insurance in the US has become an issue beyond contentious, it’s actually eating away at people’s lives. Not long agap a Philippine woman, now in the US, wrote to ask if sdhe was _allowed_ tyo come back to her own country because she had not maintained her PhilHealth coverage. Nessage to all: Nedical insurance is important but it is just one thing … you can not let it rule your life and make your decisions for you.

          Medicak insurance is actually mis-named. It only pays (some) costs, it does not insure your health. What if you delay retirement for 10 years waiting for better insurance and then drop dead the day after you retire? They can put on the tombstone ‘He had a great medical plan’, but that will be a poor substitute for 10 years of living versus ‘existing’

        • says

          On this blog, Disgruntled Mailmen have the right of way. All those who never bothered with Federal employment, or who spent their life bad-moiuthing Federal employees now complain becuase they don’t have the benefits we spent alifetime earninbg … what do they want to have things both ways? LoL.

  4. Yan says

    Hi, I’m very interested in the hospital’s name. May I know the name of the hospital? It will be a great help. Thank you.

    • Philly says

      Sure, Yan. I used Fatima University Medical Center in Valaenzua, Metro Manila. Doctors Sanata Maria (husband and wife yeam, surgeon and anesthesiologist)
      (02)2919323 / (02)2932713 / (02)2916538

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