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No More Delaying Cataract Treatment! Cataract Surgeries Programme Subsidises Your Surgery

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 39 million people worldwide are visually impaired, with 51% of cases caused by cataracts. According to statistics from the University of Hong Kong in 2018, 28.5% of local adults suffer from cataracts, but only 4.8% have undergone cataract surgery, which is a concerning situation.


Insufficient public awareness about cataracts

Cataracts refer to the clouding and hardening of the transparent lens inside the eye, which obstructs the passage of light and leads to blurry vision or even vision loss. However, many seniors consider it a normal age-related condition and are reluctant to undergo multiple surgeries due to concerns about money and inconvenience. Instead, they prefer to wait until the cataracts become "mature" (fully white) to receive surgery in one go.

This lack of awareness among the public is a concern. In fact, cataracts do not need to become mature before performing surgery. The earlier cataract surgery is done, the lower the treatment difficulty and the faster the recovery. Especially with the rapid advancements in technology today, cataract surgery can be completed in just 20 minutes and is minimally invasive, resulting in only very small wounds.

However, if patients delay treatment and wait until cataracts become mature, it can not only severely impair vision, but also increase the risk of complications such as iritis and glaucoma. It also increases the difficulty of the surgery and prolongs the recovery period after the procedure.


Excessive waiting time for ophthalmic services in public hospitals

Some patients are well aware of the seriousness of cataracts, but they cannot seek treatment in private hospitals due to high costs. As a result, they have no choice but to join the waiting list in public hospitals. However, the waiting time for ophthalmic services in public hospitals is very long. According to statistics from the Hospital Authority, the average waiting time for cataract surgery for patients who have already completed the procedure ranges from 10 to 22 months.

During the waiting period, many patients experience a gradual deterioration of their cataracts, significantly interfering with their daily lives and even causing vision loss. Therefore, patients are recommended to receive cataract surgery at private ophthalmology centres as soon as possible to regain healthy vision.

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Government’s Cataract Surgeries Programme subsidises HK$8,000 for citizens

To alleviate the medical burden on public hospitals, the Hong Kong government introduced the first public-private partnership programme in 2008 – Cataract Surgeries Programme. Through this public-private collaboration, the programme significantly reduces the waiting time for cataract surgery. Eligible patients can apply and register with the Hospital Authority, and then choose a private ophthalmology clinic for treatment. Each patient can receive the following treatments:

-One pre-operative assessment

-Cataract surgery including intraocular lens (monofocal intraocular lens)

-Two post-operative checks

Participating patients can receive a fixed amount of HK$8,000 subsidy, and may need to co-pay an amount of no more than HK$8,000, so private doctors are not allowed to charge more than HK$16,000. Once the private ophthalmologist completes the cataract surgery, the Hospital Authority will directly disburse the HK$8,000 subsidy to them.

Eligibility for Cataract Surgeries Programme

Patients who have been on the Hospital Authority’s cataract surgery waiting list for 18 months or more are eligible. Those with the longest waiting time will be prioritised;

Suitable for receiving local anaesthesia surgery; and

General waiting cases (as urgent or early-stage cases require priority treatment, the Hospital Authority will continue to arrange surgery for them, and they won't be able to choose private doctors for treatment)

If patients are already on the waiting list in public hospitals, they do not need to register for the programme. The Hospital Authority will send invitations to eligible patients in batches, starting with those with the longest waiting time.

EC Eye Centre fully supports Cataract Surgeries Programme

EC Eye Centre under EC Healthcare, the largest non-hospital medical service provider in Hong Kong, is operated by professional ophthalmologists and registered optometrists, with the ophthalmologists being designated doctors under the Hospital Authority's Cataract Surgeries Programme. They can provide professional pre-operative assessment, surgical treatments, and post-operative follow-up treatments for cataract patients.

Furthermore, to shorten patients' waiting time, EC Eye Centre has launched the "Clear Vision Programme."* Eligible patients can receive cataract surgery at a subsidised price of $15,000, including all relevant examinations and cataract lens (for one monofocal lens). Receive timely treatment now and restore clear vision!

*(There are 2 slots available per month, and patients can make appointments to be put on the waiting list.We will arrange appointments based on the order of reservation.)


Low-income individuals (such as Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients)

Not applicable for insurance claims

Patients with vision problems that interfere with daily life

<Online Appointment>

Source: EC EYE

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