Medicare pays for a wide range of services, including many preventive benefits. However, routine eye care is not among these services. Read more about what Medicare does and does not cover related to vision services and supplies.
What vision care does Medicare cover?
Part B covers:
- An annual glaucoma test for at-risk individuals. Persons considered at-risk include: those with diabetes, African-Americans aged 50+, Hispanics aged 65+, and/or those with a family history of glaucoma.
- An annual exam to test for diabetic retinopathy among diabetics.
- Certain diagnostic tests and screenings for macular degeneration.
- Cataract surgery, plus one pair of post-surgery eyeglasses or contact lenses following surgery. Medicare will only pay for contact lenses or eyeglasses from a supplier enrolled in Medicare.
What do I pay for these services?
For each of these covered services, you would pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies.
Does Medicare cover eyeglasses or eye exams?
Original Medicare (Parts A & B) does not cover routine eye exams, or the purchase of eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your plan to see whether it covers these services/supplies.
Where can I get help paying for vision care?
- EyeCare America®, a service of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides free eye exams and up to one year of care for low-income individuals who qualify.
- Local Lions’ Club chapters often have programs to assist those with severe vision impairment. Find your local chapter in your phone book or by visiting the Lions’ Club Directory online.
- Vision USA, a program of the American Optometric Association, provides free eye exams for low-income Americans without insurance. (Note: People with Medicaid/Medicare are not eligible for this program.) Vision USA is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
- For those who lack any insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid), Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery to those who qualify.