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Many state and national resources regularly
provide aid to people with vision problems. The
National Eye Institute, which supports eye research,
does not help individuals pay for eye care. However,
if you are in need of financial aid to assess or
treat an eye problem, you might contact one or more
of the following programs.
You may also contact a social worker at a local
hospital or other community agency. Social workers
often are knowledgeable about community resources
that can help people facing financial and medical
Eye Exams and Surgery
A public service foundation of the
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Provides
comprehensive eye exams and care for up to one year,
often at no out-of-pocket expense to eligible
candidates age 65 or older. Its Glaucoma EyeCare
Program provides a glaucoma eye exam. The EyeCare
America Children’s EyeCare Program educates parents
and primary care providers about the importance of
early childhood (newborn through 36 months of age)
Coordinated by the American Optometric
Association (AOA), provides free eye care to
eligible uninsured, low-income workers and their
Lions Clubs International
A service organization
whose local club members are all volunteers. A local
Lions club in or near your community may sponsor a
program that may help you buy corrective eyewear or
obtain eye health care.
To find a Lions club near
you, access the
Mission Cataract USA
A program providing free
cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no
other means to pay. Surgeries are scheduled annually
on one day.
Apublic health program designed to
ensure early detection of eye conditions in babies.
Member optometrists provide a comprehensive eye and
vision assessment for infants within the first year
of life regardless of a family’s income or access to
Sight for Students
A Vision Service Plan (VSP)
program that provides free eye exams and glasses to
low income and uninsured children 18 years and
younger that qualified for the program.
New Eyes for the Needy
Provides vouchers for the
purchase of new prescription eyeglasses.
Offers a database of medications that can
be obtained free or at low cost by uninsured, low
income patients, usually through manufacturer
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
single point of access to more than 475 public and
private patient assistance programs; it is funded by
Patient Access Network
Helps eligible underinsured patients afford the
copayments for pharmaceutical treatment for
Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Provides consumer information, resources,
news and a directory of patient assistance programs
that offer affordable or free medications.
Medicare Benefit for Eye Exams
For People with Diabetes - People with Medicare who
have diabetes can get a dilated eye exam to check
for diabetic eye disease. Your doctor will decide
how often you need this exam.
For People at Risk for Glaucoma - Glaucoma is a
leading cause of vision loss. People at high risk
for glaucoma include those with diabetes or a family
history of glaucoma, are African Americans age 50 or
older or, are Hispanic and 65 or older. Medicare
will pay for an eye exam to check for glaucoma once
every 12 months.
Patients must pay 20 percent of the
Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B
State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
For little or no cost, this insurance pays for
doctor visits, prescription medicines,
hospitalizations, and much more for children 18
years and younger. Most states also cover the cost
of dental care, eye care, and medical equipment.
Telephone: 1-877-543-7669. Insure Kids Now!
The National Eye Institute (NEI)
part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is
the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research
that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role
in reducing visual impairment and blindness.
Source: National Eye Institute