Does Medicare Cover Vision Care?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 14, 2016 staff asked...

Does Medicare cover eyeglasses, lenses, or any other vision care?

Expert Answers

Coverage of vision care by Medicare Part B is limited to treatment of medical conditions, and only treatment provided by a medical doctor. It does not normally include vision examinations, eyeglasses, or contact lenses.

Medicare Part B does cover treatment, including surgery, by an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in treatment of eye conditions). If you're treated by an ophthalmologist for a medical condition, Medicare Part B will pay 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for that doctor's services, as well as up to 100 percent of approved outpatient hospital or clinic costs associated with that treatment.

Medicare Part B can also pay for eyeglasses or contact lenses following cataract surgery in which a new lens is implanted in the eye. Also, a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan can cover eye drops or other eye medications if prescribed by a physician.

Medicare does not pay for visits to or care provided by an optometrist or optician, nor for eye glasses or contact lenses (except following cataract surgery, as described above).

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

This is a follow-up question, not an answer: If my mom had cataract surgery 3 years ago, and continues to need glasses that have a different prescription than she had BEFORE the surgery -- are REPLACEMENT glasses covered?

Ritabena answered...

Answer #1 by Joseph L. Matthews is incorrect. Optometrists, as well as ophthalmologists are approved providers for the delivery of medical eye care to Medicare recipients. The law was changed in the late 1980's to give optometry parity with ophthalmology.

Routine vision care is still a non covered service for Medicare recipients regardless of whether the care is provided by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.