How Much Does Orbital Decompression Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff

Orbital decompression is a surgical procedure meant to improve the condition of an eye, or both eyes, that protrudes from its sockets.

When the eye socket becomes damaged or compressed, it can cause painful headaches and stress on the upper facial cavities, forcing the eye to bulge.  This is not only uncomfortable, but it can also affect the vision.

The eye socket, known as the orbit, is that space inside your skull consisting of the four bony walls:  the roof, floor, and the two side walls.  It houses all the contents of the eye.  When a person contracts a condition called Graves Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism, where the immune system fails to function the way it should, he or she will most likely require this surgery.

swirl my eye by sweetron1982, on Flickr
swirl my eye” (CC BY 2.0) by sweetron1982

How much does orbital decompression surgery cost?

Without insurance, plan on budgeting anywhere from $4,000 to as much as $7,200 per eye for orbital decompression surgery.  The costs will depend on your geographical location, the facility, surgeon, the complexity of the surgery and inclusions in the surgery bill.

On this forum thread, one member claimed his orbital decompression surgery cost around $6,500.

Dr. Barry L. Eppley shared on that an orbital decompression for just one eye can cost $4,500 to $6,000.

For those who have health insurance, most policies will cover a portion as long as it’s medically necessary, and you should only be responsible for your deductibles and co-pays.  With any insurance related costs, it is always best to check with your provider before making an appointment.  For those who are looking for a new policy, consider browsing through hundreds for free at

Orbital decompression surgery overview

During the surgery, while under a general anesthesia, an endoscope will go through the nose in order to reach the orbital cavity, creating no need for an incision.  This intranasal endoscope will be used to remove one or more walls of the eye socket to help restore the eye’s natural appearance.

The surgery usually takes around two hours to perform with general anesthesia and an overnight stay at the hospital may be required in some cases.

After your surgery, you may need to stay overnight at the hospital, depending on your circumstances.  Most patients, as long as the surgery went well, should be able to see an improvement immediately after the surgery has been performed.

The time to heal can range from seven to 14 days, depending on how well the surgery went.

What are the extra costs?

A follow-up visit, usually a week following the surgery, will be required to check your progress and remove the sutures.  Usually, this won’t be included in the estimates mentioned above.

The surgeon’s and the anesthesiologist’s professional fees may not be included in the costs mentioned above.  Since all facilities and hospitals have its own billing practices, it’s best to receive an itemized bill before your surgery begins.

While orbital decompression has recorded a high success rate, a patient may still need further surgery to correct vision problems and/or to tighten loose skin around the eye sockets and eyelids.  This surgery, if recommended, will be an additional expense you should be prepared to budget for.

Antibiotics and/or other medication will be prescribed to help minimize the swelling and prevent a potential infection.

Tips to know:

This surgery can help benefit anyone who needs space in their orbital cavity in order to move their eyes back to a natural position.

Common conditions treated, according to, may include headaches, eye infections, eye pain, double vision, enlarged eyes, bulging eyes, scar tissue over the cornea and thyroid eye disease.

Risks associated with the surgery may include a loss of vision, bleeding around the eye, cheek numbness, nasal bleeding, meningitis, an infection, tear duct injury or sinusitis.  However, since the surgery is minimally invasive, these possible risks are rare.

How can I save money?

Health insurance usually covers orbital decompression surgery as long as it is deemed medically necessary.  Again, talk with your insurance company to see what you would be responsible for.

Even if you cannot afford to pay the surgeon in full, ask about cash discounts if your insurance will not cover it.  Hospitals will usually offer payment plans as well.

A hospital will always be more expensive than a free-standing center.  If possible, try your best to get the surgery performed at a free-standing center.  Consult with at least three surgeons to see what they can offer and what will be included in the fee.  While you don’t want to focus on the pricing, pay close attention to the doctor’s reputation, reviews, and office setting.

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