Affording Eye Exams and Glasses
If you need financial assistance in affording eye exams or eyeglasses, here are some programs, you might find useful.
For Eye Exams:
Eyecare America is a public service program from Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmologists. Seniors who are 65 years old or older who have not seen an eye doctor in three or more years and who do not belong to an HMO or do not have eye care through the Veterans’ Administration are eligible.
The comprehensive medical eye exams will be performed by an ophthalmologist who is volunteering his services according to program guidelines. Participants may receive up to one year of care for any eye disease diagnosed afterwards at no out of pocket expense. According to the website, “Volunteer ophthalmologists will waive co-payments, accepting Medicare and /or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full: patients without insurance receive this care at no charge. Those who are determined to be at increased risk for glaucoma (by age, race and family history) and have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more may be eligible to receive a free glaucoma eye exam if they are uninsured.
Those with insurance will be billed for eye exams and are responsible for any co-payments. The initiation of treatment is provided, if deemed necessary by the doctor during the exam.” Check their website for more information.
Note that the program does NOT cover the cost of eyeglass prescriptions or the cost of eyeglasses.
New Eyes is a nonprofit organization which provides free eyeglasses to people in the U.S. and around the world. The organization is based in Short Hills, New Jersey. For more information about New Eyes, call 1-973-376-4903 or visit the New Eyes website. Your application for a voucher for eyeglasses must be completed by a social service organization, family physician, medical clinic, or house of worship. A copy of a recent eyeglass prescription must also be submitted. If your application is approved, New Eyes will send the voucher to the agency’s case worker to give to the applicant.
For nearly 100 years, Lions Clubs have provided resources for individuals who are blind or who have severe vision or hearing loss worldwide. A local Lions club in or near your community might sponsor a program that provides assistance for the purchase of eyeglasses, hearing aids, health-related services, scholarships or educational needs. Contact your local Lions Club by asking at your local Chamber of Commerce, or visit their website.
If you have eyeglasses you are no longer using, both New Eyes and the Lions Clubs do accept donations of used eyeglasses.
Pass them along to help others.