Is there financial assistance for prescription glasses?

6 answers | Last updated: Oct 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I would like to know where to go to get help for my mom. She needs glasses and Medicare will not pay for them. She has little money to live on and I'm on my own and don't have the money. Can you help me? We live by Fort Worth, Texas.

Expert Answers

You're right about Medicare -- it won't cover eyeglasses for your mother unless she's recovering from cataract surgery. But from the sound of her financial situation, your mother might qualify for Medicaid, which does cover eyeglasses for people enrolled in the program in Texas. Medicaid is available to her if she is age 65 or over, or disabled, and if she has very low income and few assets, not counting a home she lives in or her personal possessions. For information about the details of how to qualify for Medicaid in Texas, and for help in applying, you can go to the Web site of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which operates the Medicaid program in Texas. That site can also direct you to a local Medicaid office near your mother in Fort Worth.

Even if your mother qualifies for Medicaid, however, that doesn't mean that Medicaid will pay for her eye exam and eyeglasses from any optometrist, oculist or eye doctor. Instead, Medicaid will only pay for an eye exam and lenses, and only for very basic frames, from an eye care provider who participates in Medicaid. Once she qualifies for Medicaid, your mother can get a referral from the local Medicaid office to the Fort Worth area eye care providers who participate in the program.

If your mother doesn't qualify for Medicaid, she might try contacting the Tarrant County Optometric Society. That's the professional organization of optometrists in Tarrant County. She could ask them if they have any programs to provide eyeglasses at a reduced price to people with low income.

Community Answers

Diasy answered...

Check with your local lions club, they provide assistance for eye glasses.

Sreyn123 answered...

You may also try one of many medicare advantage companies in your county that may offer coverage at no charge. Medicaid, here in tarrant county, only covers up to 100.00 every two years. One carrier gives up to 300.00 every year as long as you have medicare and medicaid.

Morganau answered...

How much do the glasses cost? Just trying to figure out which programs you might be eligible for.

Margo62145 answered...

Hi! I live in Austin, am 70 and get Medicare to pay for my exams (go to an ophthalmologist NOT an optometrist to be covered) and then I go onto zenni optical's website. I get nice glasses for about $35, pretty frames, no charge for single vision lenses and shipping is under $5. You can put add-ons like coatings, etc. and get sunglasses as well. Hope this helps..........

Kit cat answered...


Excellent answer, but unfortunately, I don't think that is true about Medicaid.

Texas did not expand Medicaid.

To the best of my knowledge, they won't let her on Medicaid just because she is low income and a senior. (let me know if I am wrong, I would be happy to be wrong about this). I do know people in Texas and they simply cannot get on Medicaid.

Medicaid used to be better in Texas, but programs have been cut.

I am aware of these two ways she could get on:

  1. If she is very low income and has not applied for SSI, she can apply for SSI. For a single person, this means her income is less than $753 per month from ALL sources. Medicaid will come automatically with the SSI.

  2. If she cannot care for herself she can apply for Medicaid long term care - she would need to prove she needs nursing-home level care. (she doesn't need to be in a nursing home, but she needs to require help with bathing, dressing, eating, bathroom, etc). In Texas, this will come with vision and a lot of other benefits.