Does Medicare pay for eye exams and glasses?

A fellow caregiver asked...

need to know if medicare pays for eye exams and glasses

Expert Answer

Medicare Part B covers only a very limited amount of eye care. The coverage is restricted to treatment of disease and post-surgical care, and only if provided by a medical doctor, not an optometrist or optician. Medicare Part B does NOT cover vision examinations, eyeglasses, or contact lenses unless related to eye disease being treated by a medical doctor.

Medicare Part B covers treatment for eye disease, including surgery, by an ophthalmologist -- a medical doctor who specializes in treatment of eye conditions. If you are treated by an ophthalmologist for a medical condition and Medicare Part B covers it, Medicare Part B can pay 80% of the Medicare-approved amount for that doctor's services, as well as for outpatient hospital or clinic costs associated with that treatment.

Medicare Part B can pay for eyeglasses or contact lenses ONLY 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.