Our Neighbor’s Experience Getting Cataract Surgery in Mexico

Photo source: iStockphoto

I know from experience that our readers enjoy posts that contain detailed information about the cost and quality of medical treatment in Mexico. I guess our neighbors know it too because they often share their medical experiences with me and preface their stories with some statement like, “Hey, I bet your readers would find this interesting.” 

If I agree with them, I’ll do a quick post — which I obviously did in this case because here we are.

Down to the Nitty Gritty

Our neighbor, Larry, is originally from the U.S. and moved to Mexico with his wife, Carolyn, in November of 2017. He and his wife are both in their 70’s and retired.

It had been some time since either of them had had an eye exam, so they went to Dr. Irving Rico Leal, an ophthalmologist in Playa del Carmen, at the recommendation of Larry’s cardiologist. The consultation and exam were $800 pesos each ($40 USD*).

According to Larry, Dr. Rico speaks English very well.

Dr. Rico told Larry that he had level 2 cataracts and advised him that the condition would worsen over time. He gave him two possible treatment options. They both involved surgery:

Option #1

Place a bifocal interocular lens in both eyes. This option for an operation would cost $20,000 pesos per eye ($1,010 USD*), or $40,000 total for both eyes ($2,020 USD*).

Larry would still likely need glasses for reading.

Option #2

Place a trifocal interocular lens in both eyes from Zeis in Germany. The cost for the trifocal lens would be $40,000 pesos per eye ($2,020 USD*) or $80,000 pesos total ($4,040 USD).

Larry, who has worn glasses since he was 45 years old, would be able to get rid of them completely. He liked that and chose this option.

Larry does not have any insurance in Mexico that would cover the cost of these procedures. He paid for everything out-of pocket. The price quoted included all post-op visits.

Surgery Time

Before Larry could have surgery, he had to return to his cardiologist for an EKG and a statement saying that he was healthy enough for the surgery.

The eyes were operated on on different dates set a week and a half apart. Everything was done in the office and Larry was pleased with the facility and the professionalism of the doctor and his staff.

How’d It Turn Out?

Larry said he couldn’t be happier with the results. He said the best part is that he no longer needs glasses.

Contact Info

Another thing that I’ve learned from experience is to always include the contact information for any business that I mention in an article. It helps to cut down on questions from readers. All of their contact information can be found on their website:

Dr. Irving Rico Leal, Clínica de la Visión,

+52 984 147 39 00 Office Phone
+52 984 188 20 72 Whatsapp
Facebook: cvisionplaya

Let’s Wrap This Up

So, we saw Larry at happy hour the other day and we had to tell him he looked 20 years younger without his glasses.  I guess he really did choose the right surgical option!

* USD price estimates based on a current exchange rate of 19.8 MXN/1 USD. 

About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

19 Comments on "Our Neighbor’s Experience Getting Cataract Surgery in Mexico"

  1. Diane McNair | October 3, 2019 at 11:02 am |

    Thanks for sharing his experience Paul!

  2. Diana Byington | October 3, 2019 at 11:06 am |

    Amazing surgery for such an affordable price!

  3. Leland W. Warner III | October 3, 2019 at 11:21 am |

    That is one of the most useful articles about cataract surgery that I have come across! Thank you very much for the information.
    Vayan con Díos!

  4. Steven Leger | October 3, 2019 at 11:39 am |

    I wonder why he didn’t get insurance first than have surgery.

  5. Many policies in Mexico will not cover you after age 70.

  6. I had the same surgery before moving to Mexico 7 years ago. Bausch and Lomb lenses, $2,500 per eye for $5,000 total. Surgery $3000 per eye for $6000 total. Medicare picked up all but about $1,500 (deductible) of the surgery bill. Total cost about $9,500 US. Seven years later and still no glasses. I cannot begin to tell you what the Caribbean looked like after the surgery. Color is the first thing one loses with cataracts. The trifocal lenses are a miracle. Prescription sunglasses can be a major expense living in Mexico – broken, lost, sunblock ruins the lenses, the list goes on and on.

  7. Samiam Stroup | October 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm |

    I had some emergency dental work done on Cozumel Aug 2018. The total cost was $15 usd. I told my dentista I couldn’t wait to tell my dentist at ‘home’ 😉

  8. Ingrid Royle | October 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm |

    Hey Paul ! Thanks for the info. Why don’t you give us some information on plastic surgery . What would a complete facelift cost? Thank you.

  9. Alison Macleod Sinton | October 3, 2019 at 5:50 pm |

    I had my cataract done privately in Scotland. It cost me £5,000 for both eyes. I still need reading glasses. Maybe I should have done it here 🙂

  10. What about LASIK surgery? Is that offered there?

  11. tom hamilton | October 3, 2019 at 6:44 pm |

    Great story Paul. Congrats Larry quality of life should be a lot better for you now. Sounds like 4 k well spent to me. Enjoy your life in mexico.

  12. Wayne Miller | October 3, 2019 at 8:57 pm |

    Thanks to your recommendation for Dr. Lopez at CostaMed Tulum I had a wonderful experience having a filling replaced last week for $40!!! I was down in Tulum for three weeks taking delivery of my new LUXURY CONDO in Aldea Zama and it all started with the outstanding info I received from you (including the Realtor I used) here on the Blog and personal emails! I even visited your buddy Gilly at Tequilaville several times! Will be moving in full time in a few more years and we’ll practically be neighbors 😀

  13. Great outcome for Larry- I wonder what that same surgery would cost in the U.S. I’m guessing $4 grand out of pocket after insurance paid. Thanks for the interesting blog!

  14. Brenda Lopez | October 3, 2019 at 10:20 pm |

    There’s a question above about why he didn’t get insurance. In my case, I had cataracts when I moved here. It’s a pre-existing condition and generally speaking the insurance companies don’t cover those. So I had cataract surgery on one of my eyes and paid myself at a similar cost of 1,200USD for the monofocal lens. I have 20/20 vision now in that eye but will need reading glasses which is fine. My surgery was in Cancun because I was new here and it was the only recommendation I had. Very happy with the service and the results.

  15. I had the same surgery as Larry in Cancun almost 3 years ago. i was going to do it in the USA, but when I investigated, I found out that medicare would only cover bifocal lenses, and the surgery. If I wanted the tri lense option, and never needing glasses again, I had to pay for the lenses out of pocket. I don’t remember the exact cost in the USA anymore, but I do remember it would have been around 4 times the $1600US per eye cost I paid in Cancun. The surgery was done in two visits for both eyes about 3 weeks apart. with two follow up visits included. It turned out great!.
    Before the surgery i had pairs of glasses everywhere. On my desk, in the car, and strategic places around the house. i haven’t put on a pair of glasses since getting the lenses. My eyesight is 20/20.Also, I can now wear off the rack sunglasses.
    Because I had the first eye done 3 weeks before the second, I had the experience of seeing the color difference before and after, by opening the finished eye , and closing the other., and then the other way around. I was amazed! It was well worth it.

  16. Can anyone recommend a surgeon for this in Cancun? I have seen the reputable doc at Perfect vision, just want a second opinion. Thanks, great and perfect timing article!

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