Medicare Vision Coverage, must-know details

The age-related vision loss is common as one gets older and it is best to know the type of vision services offered as Medicare beneficiary and the items that are covered.


Part A and Part B, Original Medicare, offers restricted vision coverage, and most routine eye care is not covered. However, the Medicare Advantage plans in some may provide additional benefits, including the routine vision care.


Overview of vision services as Medicare coverage at

Part A and B, Original Medicare, actually does not cover any eye exams as a routine. It is referred to as eye refraction. This exam type is normally done if you wish to get eyeglass fitted or the contact lenses. Original Medicare, in most cases does not cover the eyeglasses lenses or frames, vision exams, or even the contact lenses. In case you are enrolled in the Traditional Medicare and also do not hold any other insurance, there is all possibilities that you pay from your pocket for these costs.


Medicare covers some preventive and diagnostic vision screenings and a few situations are mentioned where you may be covered.


Glaucoma screenings

Part B Medicare Supplement Plans cover a glaucoma screening yearly in case there is high risk for glaucoma. The reasons to consider for glaucoma high risk include:


  • If you have glaucoma as family history.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • You are a Hispanic American and are 65 years and older
  • You are African American and 50 years old.


If you meet the eligibility criteria, there are possibilities that the Medicare supplement plans may cover glaucoma screening. The test for glaucoma should be given under an eye doctor supervision legally authorized in your state to perform the test.


Diabetic retinopathy screening

Medicare does not cover any of the routine eye exams, though Part B covers exam as annual vision for diabetic retinopathy and you will be covered if these are true such as:

  • You have diabetes
  • You are enrolled in Part B Medicare.
  • The exam is performed by legally authorized eye doctor in your state.


Does Medicare bear the costs of glasses or contacts?

Medicare Supplement plans do not pay the eyeglasses cost or even for the contact lenses. It means you must pay the full costs and for the exams. But, if there is a cataract surgery and you have to be inserted an intraocular lens, Part B Medicare covers the corrective lenses charges with the surgery. Thus a pair of glasses or the lenses is covered in case these items are bought from a supplier enrolled as per the network list of the Medicare program.