VICTORIA – Cataract patients will now receive foldable intraocular lenses free of charge beginning June 4, 2012.

After reviewing usage data – and discussing with ophthalmologists, clinical experts and patients – the Province has decided to make foldable monofocal lenses the standard of care for cataract surgeries, rather than rigid lenses.

This decision will save cataract patients a significant amount of money, the majority of whom are seniors. Previously, patients purchased lenses directly from their surgeons at a range of prices from $210 to $500. These lenses will now be provided by health authorities free of charge.

In addition to covering foldable lenses, health authorities will also be offering specialty lenses, such as multifocals, at a standard, reduced price. The price will depend on the specific type of lens. Plus, patients who choose specialty lenses will only have to pay the cost difference between the price of the lenses they choose and the foldable monofocal lens.

Patients scheduled for cataract surgery prior to June 4 may wish to discuss these changes with their surgeons. The ministry will not be reimbursing patients who have surgery before June 4.