Does Medicare Cover Vision And Eye Care?

Original Medicare And Vision Coverage


Original Medicare Parts A and B do not cover vision care, except in certain circumstances. For example, Part B partially covers eye exams if you’re at higher risk for eye complications such as glaucoma. Medicare also covers some medically necessary eye surgeries, such as cataract removal. But it will not cover routine eye exams, glasses, or contacts.


Fortunately, you have options when it comes to Medicare vision insurance. Private insurance companies like Empire offer eye care coverage included with Medicare Advantage.

Vision Costs And Coverage Options

Eye care costs can add up quickly if you’re paying for everything out-of-pocket. Here are some average costs for routine eye care.

  • Eye exam average cost: $200

  • Glasses average cost: $150 to $400

  • Yearly supply of contacts: $150 to $400

These costs can also vary quite a bit depending on the type of frames or contacts you buy. So it’s easy to see why vision coverage that helps pay for your exams and eyewear can save you money. 


Vision Coverage with Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are bundled plans that usually include dental, vision, and hearing coverage, plus some other services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. This can include fitness memberships, prescription drug coverage, and more. 


Medicare Advantage plans that include vision care typically cover a yearly exam and an allowance for eyewear. There are also options to increase vision coverage within those plans.


Low-cost and free vision coverage


Low-cost and free eye clinics such as EyeCare America offer complimentary or sliding-scale vision services. Vision USA also gives free eye exams to qualifying people.


Colleges and universities often offer free or low-cost services from supervised students. 


Eye Care Is Crucial For Older Adults 

Whatever you do, it is important to have regular eye exams that include retinal scans, pupil dilation, and glaucoma screenings. These are painless but important screenings. Eye exams can also reveal early symptoms and warning signs of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The earlier you spot an issue, the easier it is to treat. 


Many age-related eyesight issues are easily addressed at the optometrist. For example, reading glasses or blue-blocking glasses can do wonders for decreasing eye strain. 


As we grow older, our ability to distinguish shapes, colors, and contrasts can make driving harder, especially at night. It also becomes more difficult to adjust from low light to bright light and vice versa. Glasses or contacts can compensate for some of these issues, and a healthy diet, exercise, and regular eye exams can help keep your vision sharp for many years to come.

Find vision coverage that fits your needs.

Other Articles From "Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans Guide"

 Original Medicare: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).


Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Empire BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal.